SriLankan Airlines calls on members of the Airline Pilots’ Guild to put ‘country first’

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.

The Airline 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.

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

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. The ALPG has forced members to resort to unacceptable action by refraining from consenting to report to work on rostered off-days by refusing the duty call or being unresponsive to calls from the Company.

Therefore, the Board and the Management of the Airline are thoroughly disappointed that one segment of the Airline’s employees is 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. Jointly, the Board, Management and dedicated employees of the Airline vehemently condemn these untimely and selfish actions of the ALPG.

The grievance of the ALPG is that the Airline provides them with a dedicated treatment facility for members who test positive for COVID-19. The Airline has requested such a facility from the relevant authorities and is hopeful that a facility would be made available soon.

( SriLankan Airlines)

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Author: Isma Izzath
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