Dispute between SriLankan Airlines pilots and management

A dispute has arisen between the SriLankan Airlines pilots and management of the national carrier.

SriLankan Airlines said that members of the executive committee of the Airline Pilots’ Guild (ALPG) have refused to report to work on their allocated off-days.

The pilots have also been unresponsive to calls from the Company, the airline said.

Issuing a statement, SriLankan Airlines said the ALPG has requested the airline to provide them with a dedicated treatment facility for members who test positive for COVID-19.

The airline said it has requested for such a facility from the relevant authorities and is hopeful that a facility would be made available soon.

SriLankan Airlines has been supporting the national economy and country since the closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport in March 2020 with the outbreak of COVID-19 by flying stranded Sri Lankans home and facilitating international trade by maintaining the vital link between Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.

“Nearly the entire fleet of the Airline was grounded due to the closure of airports and travel restrictions imposed by various countries in the past nine months. As a result, the Airline has had to cope with unprecedented revenue losses owing to the reduced number of flights being operated, namely for repatriation of fellow citizens and transportation of essential goods including medical supplies,” SriLankan Airlines said.

The airline further said it has been adopting ad-hoc flight schedules due to the pandemic in addition to responding swiftly to the needs of the Government in relation to repatriation of Sri Lankans and the transportation of cargo as and when required.

This necessitates all employees of the Airline to report to work on short notice in accordance with the guidelines stipulated by authorities for the prevention of COVID-19. The precautionary measures taken, and the required personal protective equipment always provided by the airline have protected the employees when they were on duty, SriLankan said.

The National Carrier said that it has also relied on the support of the Government to get through this difficult period, and the Government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has unhesitatingly extended necessary funds in spite of the budgetary and fiscal challenges faced by the Government.

Therefore, the airline says it is the utmost duty of the employees to support the Government in their efforts to rebuild the country.

“The employees of SriLankan Airlines have endured many hardships since the onset of the pandemic from having to work in a tough and unpredictable working environment whilst foregoing a percentage of their income in salary cuts,” the statement said.

SriLankan Airlines said it is against this stressful backdrop that members of the Executive Committee of the Airline Pilots’ Guild (ALPG) have decided to act in a self-centered manner, not only causing severe disruptions to the Airline’s operations but jeopardizing the Airline as well as the development efforts of the country.

Therefore, the Board and the Management of the Airline have expressed disappointment that one segment of the airline’s employees are intentionally undermining the efforts of the rest of the committed and valuable employees of the company and the determination of the Government of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

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