In a shocking turn of events, the country’s crisis ridden national carrier, SriLankan, has requested its employees to work four days in the coming months free of charge until the airline recovers from its massive financial slump. The request comes after the airline recorded a loss of almost Rs. 9.5 billion for the year, which ended March 31, 2009.
SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Manoj Gunawardena confirmed that various schemes were being implemented including the freezing of increments and bonuses for the coming year and voluntary work by employees for no pay.
Gunawardena also told that the senior management has already agreed to two days of voluntary no pay work, including himself. “With the implementation of various cost cutting and revenue enhancing measures, the company will have a financial turnaround,” an optimistic Gunawardena said
The management is currently in negotiations with the Flight Attendants’ Union (FAU) and Sri Lanka Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNN) for voluntary no pay work. “We are optimistic that both unions will make accommodations. This requires personal commitment from all of us,” he said.
However a representative of the Pilots’ Guild said that the pilots have refused to agree to a pay cut. The representative also claimed that the suggestions made for the improvement of the airline which would have improved the situation, had been overlooked by the authorities.
The representative alleged that the airline was drowning in corruption and malpractices and suggestions made to remove inefficient employees had fallen on deaf ears.
According to the Pilots’ Guild representative, the CEO had cited that other airlines too were suffering from heavy losses and so this situation was not unique to SriLankan. “But other airlines have invested in buying more aircraft. SriLankan Airlines has made no such investment. They are liquidating their assets just to maintain the day to day running of the firm,” he said.
The representative also added that the FAU has already agreed to four days of voluntary no pay work, on the condition that they would receive an over 10% pay increment next March.
The Pilots’ Guild representative said that this was a “big if, because who knows what the airline’s financial situation would be next year?” The representative maintained that the airline could still survive if corruption was curtailed.
from Sunday Leader