The Ceylon Electricity Board Trade Union Front yesterday decided to commence their countrywide protest campaign on May 09.
However, the Power and Energy Ministry had not changed its stance `of not giving in to the whims and fancies of the non-executive satff of the Ceylon Electricity Board,’ despite a threat by them to stage a walk out on May 29.
Other union members said that most of the unions would not go against the powerful CEB engineers union as that would further strengthen the Power and Energy Ministry’s stand against entertaining another pay hike for the non-executives.
The Front’s Executive Member, Ranjan Jayalal yesterday said that they would walk out from their workplaces after lunch on May 29.
He said considering the Vesak celebration, they delayed their countrywide protest campaign.
“On May 29 we would gather in Colombo after walking out from our offices,” he added.
CEB Chief, Prof. Wimaladharma Abeywickrema said that under the agreement between the Treasury and the CEB, employees would be given a salary increase once in three years, the increment of 25 per cent was given this year and the next would be in 2015.
He also said that non-executive unions had not taken up the matter with him but had referred it to Power and Energy Minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka.
Unions which agreed to the 25 per cent, were now campaigning for 20 per cent more, Abeywickrema added. The 25 per cent hike was decided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa following a discussion with the minister.
Meanwhile, Jayalal said that they would continue to fight for their rights.
He also said that they had urged all parties concerned to intervene in the matter, particularly after writing and requesting for a discussion with Minister Ranawaka and the CEB Chief.
Jayalal said that they would start off with protest campaigns, starting from Galle, followed by Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Moneragala, Ampara and the Sabragamuwa Province.
He said that after the series of protest campaigns they would resort to trade union action.
According to Jayalal, over 15,000 CEB employees would therefore decide on resorting to much severe trade union action by way of a strike as the final resort.
Representatives from 28 CEB trade unions yesterday decided on the date after hours of discussion
By Ifham Nizam