Cutting Flab

Aug 31, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka Ports Authority plans to shed staff with a voluntary retirement scheme and change worker attitudes to ensure a better service, its chairman Priyath Wickrama said. “Within five years we will convert this to a better port, with better attitudes.” “We plan to release 4,000 employees by end-2011through the VRS,” he told a seminar at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce organised by the Asian Shippers’ Council.

SLPA had 13,296 on its payroll in 2009 of whom 12,150 alone were employed in Colombo port.

The numbers were slightly less than in 2008 but the SLPA has been over-staffed for years with recruitments by successive ruling party politicians in order to buy votes, analysts said.

Wickrama admitted the SLPA was overstaffed but said the labour issue was a delicate one and had to be handled carefully with up to 33 trade unions in the port sector.

“Attitude change is very important for an institution like us – a government institution,” he said.

“We need to change to compete with the private sector – if not we will not able to survive in the current global competition.

“We intend changing the working environment and attitudes,” Wickrama said.

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