is price paid when governments change
By Frances Bulathsinghala
With employees of State owned institutions either being retrenched
or barred from reporting to work more than 350 employees are having
to face an uncertain future regarding their employment.
State Plantations Corporation, Lake House and the Ceylon Transport
Board are among the institutions where the down sizing of staff
one hundred and seventy employees of the Ceylon Transport Board
have been stopped from reporting to work and these employees have
taken this matter to courts having filed legal action.
the rush for retrenchment, on some pretext or the other, in State
institutions has had its repercussions with death fasts launched
last week by employees of the State Plantations Corporation (SPC)
and the Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB) in a bid to get
back the one hundred and ninety three jobs that have been lost to
hundred and sixty five from the plantations and twenty eight workers
from the JEDB head office are among those whose employment has been
terminated with effect from this month.
employees of these two institutions say they are prepared to continue
the fast unto death till their just demand is met. The Sunday Times
learns that another twenty JEDB employees are to be retrenched from
June 30 and that they have been served with notices of termination.
on Friday two of the fasting employees were admitted to the Colombo
National Hospital in a very weakened condition as a result of the
seven day fast.
at a meeting held last Friday with senior officials of the JEDB
including the Chairman Chula Delgoda, the General Manager D. T.
Cruz told the representatives of the retrenched employees that those
whose employment was terminated could not be recalled to work as
the JEDB was already overstaffed and said the termination of employment
was not discriminatory as an employee who had joined during the
Peoples Alliance regime and worked as secretary to the Chairman
had also been asked to go.
employee spokesman said the retrenched employees have formed an
association to better highlight their cause and that some of them
had joined the JEDB some three years ago after the formality of
being subjected to interview board.
employees who have lost their jobs in the State Plantations Corporation
include executives, clerks and labourers, with the most being from
among the labourers.
to J. Jayanethi, an assistant manager at the JEDB who heads the
JEDB's and State Plantations Corporation's Retrenched Workers Association,
the termination notice served to some of the employees had been
without the customary one month's notice.
of the employees were served with the letters of termination to
vacate their post immediately. We made several attempts to meet
the Plantations Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa but was told
that it was not possible to do so", Mr. Jayanethi said.
some cases the employees had only four days more to complete the
one year probationary period before being confirmed in their job",
an office assistant who had joined on May 21 last year, Gayan Yapa
explained to General Manager D. T. Cruz who had signed our letters
of termination that our appointments were made after being successfully
interviewed by an interview board, but the GM justified his action
saying that he is unable to go above the Minister", he said.
the co-ordinating Secretary to the Plantation Ministry Aquila Wijesinghe
when contacted said, "there was nothing the Ministry could
do as all the employees were recruited by the previous government
and on political grounds'.
Wijesinghe when asked to further clarify the matter, stated that
it was better left to be tackled by the Minister. Plantations Minister
Anura Priyadarshana Yapa however was not available for comment.