The ongoing work-to-rule campaign by Ceylon Electricity Board engineers is causing power interruptions for several hours in many areas but Minister John Seneviratne vowed yesterday he would not yield to their demands.
Power supplies were interrupted yesterday in the Puttalam district, Horowupotana, Trincomalee, Peradeniya, Kandy, Minuwangoda, Maho, Mihintale and other areas for four to five hours.
“Restoration of power could take several hours as engineers are following procedures to the letter before attending to repairs. This includes sending a work team along the area where the line is broken down,” a spokesman for the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) said.
Minister Seneviratne told The Sunday Times that he met with leaders of the engineers’ union on Friday, but rejected their main demand – the removal of the CEB chairman. “The appointment of the chairman or his removal is the right and responsibility of the minister and the engineers have no say in it,” a tough minister insisted.
Mr. Seneviratne also said the Government was not in a position to grant approval for engineers to
import motor vehicles on duty free concessions. Such a demand was being made by 14 other unions also and the country’s foreign exchange situation was not stable to allow such concessions, he added.
When asked about power failures, the minister said the engineers had assured him that they would attend to the repairs but engineers union spokesman A. Wanniarachchi said they had given no assurance to the minister and the work-to-rule campaign would go on till their demands were met.
The engineers are demanding