Business Times

MBSL signs collective agreement before time

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

The Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL) created history on Thursday, when it signed its collective agreement for this year with its employees, a day prior to its expiry.

“This is the first time in MBSL’s history that such an event has taken place. I have been signing such agreements for the last two and a half decades and this is the second time in history (the first being with Commercial Bank management and its staff) that a collective agreement was signed before the expiry date; at most times its many months after or sometimes years later that the management and the staff see eye to eye on these things,” M.R. Shah, Chairman MBSL who was formerly the President, Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union (CBEU), told the Business Times on the sidelines of sealing the agreement.
Ranjith Munasinghe, President CBEU told the Business Times that the motivation of MBSL staff will be witnessed by this positive move in MBSL accounts this year. He said none of the staff in other banks in the CBEU has got this much of benefits.

“It’s interesting to note that Comrade Shah, who was the former President CBEU, was on this side of the table when we used to sign collective agreements and it’s heartening to see that he is on the side of the employees,” he said.

Damitha S. Amarasinghe, President MBSL Branch Ceylon Bank employees’ union (CBEU) said that there was a huge anomaly in salaries at MBSL in the past and the present collective agreement has ironed these issues out.

“There are no more slabs for staff housing loans and these slabs are now replaced with a Rs 3.5 million maximum ceiling. A similar approach has been taken with the staff’s vehicle loans where the ceiling is now at Rs 3 million and all medical facilities are increased by 50%,” he explained.

Mr. Amarasinghe noted that this agreement has boosted the morale of the staff and there’s more transparency and a proper structure in salaries, “Unlike before, there’s a scale in the salaries and this has set the way for future salary compositions,” he said.

Laxman Kaluarachchi, Acting CEO MBSL said that the new management has set a new culture where the staff is aware of ‘what goes on in MBSL’ such as its financial strength and the decisions it will make in the future.

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