Joint Trade Alliance Of The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Protest Against Former Finance Minister

Shakila Ifham

April 7, 2022


The protest campaign organised by the Joint Trade Alliance of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is to send the current rulers out of politics and to put an end to the 70-year corrupt political system in the country, says JTA veteran trade unionist Ranjan Jayalal.

He said that they are not bothered about the appointment or the existence of EB M M C Ferdinando. “He is a political appointee …if the dog goes automatically the Tick has to go.”

He also said that their campaign was very successful, some 1,500  trade unionists joined hands representing nearly 30 unions in front of the CEB Headquarters in Colombo, apart from their campaigns in Vavuniya, Anuradhapura, Kiribathgoda, Ampara, Galle and in Kurunegala.

“Our campaign would continue countrywide,” he stressed.

The protest is against those appointed by former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa to carry out his deals, said  Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) Chairman Anil Ranjith said.

He said that Chairman is a very talented person. However, he hadn’t used his talents for the betterment of the country. “This is our concern, despite repeated requests then Power Minister didn’t want to go for power one-hour shedding in December last year.”

Some 20 CEB demonstrations entered into Chairman’s office. However, he was not at the office.

CEBEU picketing campaign was primarily demanding the removal of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and two consultants from CEB who are responsible for not taking action on the power crisis.

However, other trade unions in the CEB have not made such a demand it is clear from the handout distributed by those trade unions that the protest has been organised against the current government and its leadership gave the many problems faced by the people of Sri Lanka.

The Island learns a handful of disgruntled seniors in the CEBEU who has an axe to grind with some other individuals they dislike attempted to use the growing protest movement in the country against the government, to further their vendetta against those individuals.

The lunchtime protest yesterday had no place for the views of these engineers, and they too were forced to chant slogans against the president and the government along with other powerful trade unions of CEB.

These CEB engineers are against two senior engineers the Board of CEB has recently appointed rs consultants. CEB has a long practice of appointing senior engineers as consultants for special tasks.

Indeed, CEB had appointed two senior engineers as consultants to manage the original coal power study in Trincomalee conducted by the US consulting firm Black & Veatch as far back as the early 1980s—a fact not revealed by the current CEBEU management.

Another fact that the CEBEU omits conveniently is that for a long time the Ministers have been appointing persons known as “media consultants” under contract employment, including monthly salary, official car and driver with fuel, and office space with staff. Even at present, there is such a media consultant who is provided with all these facilities at CEB’s expense.

CEBEU has never protested against such appointments or chose to feign ignorance of such matters.

Section 13 of the Ceylon Electricity Board Act, No. 17 of 1969 has empowered the Board of CEB to “from time to time, appoint persons who are qualified as engineers to be, or act as, consultants to the Board and pay them such remuneration as it thinks proper.” This provision only applies to those with engineering qualifications. The CEBEU or any other trade union has no business dictating terms to the Board of CEB on the Board exercising the authority vested on it by law. Most unsuspecting CEBEU members are not aware of these facts.