Sri Lanka power utility engineers seek ouster of chairman

June 17, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka powerful electricity engineers’ union has started a work-to-rule campaign ahead of a full blown trade union action demanding the ouster of the state-run utility’s chairman, a union official said. The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) had decided to start the work-to-rule campaign at a special general meeting on Tuesday.

The union said it is giving energy minister John Seneviratne one week to respond, before taking tougher action.

Ceylon Electricity Board’s current chairman, Udayasiri Kariyawasam, has been at loggerheads with the Engineers Union since his appointment.

An accountant by profession, Kariyawasam had proposed several measures to trim the power of engineers in the utility, especially at board level.

He has also publicly spoken out against the engineers union.

Though various technical grade electricity workers threaten strikes from time to time and actually down tools, only the engineers have the clout to disrupt supply to the island.

The engineers rarely strike, and last went on a full blown strike more than a decade ago bringing the entire country to a standstill, over the proposed privatization of a distribution unit.

In the past