The Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) issued a press release earlier today, blaming the senior management of the national carrier for issuing a shabbily worded press release and going on to publicly tarnish the reputation of its dedicated pilots.
This incident now being viewed more like dirty linen being washed in public, is where initially it all flared up when the senior management of the airline failed in its quest to safeguard its employees in the event they contracted the Covid-19 virus when on duty.
The ALPGSL had formerly requested the management to provide them with a facility if in the event they were to contract the Covid-19 virus whilst returning from flight duty.
The Pilots and Cabin Crew have operated flights right throughout this pandemic and have been at high risk candidates to catch this virus.
Several pilots, cabin crew and even catering staff have got the Covid-19 virus and have been taken away by Medical Authorities and housed in government controlled centres with no assistance being provided by the airline's management.
"Its been ten long months where the CEO Vipula Gunatilleke and his team of senior managers have failed to provide what most other employers have done for its staff" said a member of the ALPGSL.
It was then that the ALPGSL decided to inform its CEO that they wish to mitigate contracting the Covid -19 virus and will hence be operating only their rostered flight duties.
" We will not fly on our off days" the ALPGSL said.
This statement stirred a hornet's nest, as CEO Gunatilleke already knew that the entire operation depended on the ALPGSL and its pilots supporting the business since it is currently being run in an ad hoc manner.
Jumping on the bandwagon was Head of Flight Operations Capt. Pravin Wettimuny, who as in a 'dog eat dog' manner, then went on to issue a letter to his pilots warning them of severe consequences if in the event they did not conform to the rules and regulations of the Airline.
The ALPGSL has made it extremely clear that they will not be in any violation and they are not interested in either working to rule or going on industrial action.
All that they have stated is that they would be operating the duties as reflected in their published flight rosters.
Meanwhile the Senior Management of SriLankan has recalled around 15 of its contracted pilots whom it packed off on forced no pay leave earlier in mid 2020.
It is believed that they have all been provided with the necessary training to have their licenses updated and have been further promised that they will be rostered to operate a few flights during a calendar month.
Whilst nothing has been documented or issued on paper, they will still continue to be on no pay leave and paid a mere flight allowance each time they are called to operate a flight.