CEB electrocutes Govt for Rs 3-4 billion in pay deal


The Treasury may have to pump several billion rupees to fund the latest salary increase for Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) employees who ceased their trade union action as part of a compromise deal this week, a senior official acknowledged.

While the cost of the salary increase is still being computed, Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary Dr B.M.S. Batagoda told the Sunday Times, it will definitely be in excess of Rs 1 billion. “We’re still calculating, but it coul go up to between Rs 3-4 billion,” he said.

“As part of a deal worked out between the Govt and the CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance, CEB technical staff, except those on the Engineering scale, will get a 13% hike in their basic salary, while unskilled staff will receive an 8% salary increase. Non-technical staff engaged in support services, including clerical officers, drivers, meter readers and peons, will be paid an allowance of 10%,” explained Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Director (Development) and CEB Spokesman Sulakshana Jayawardena.

The increases will be retro-effective from January 1, 2017, with the CEB agreeing to pay the arrears in two instalments.

It has also been agreed to appoint a committee of external experts and CEB representatives to determine salary scales compatible to all services, within three months.

“Meanwhile, all CEB employees are to gain a further salary increase from January 1, 2018, as part of an agreement between the Board’s management and unions to increase salaries based on a three-year cycle. While it was initially reported that all employees will get a 25% salary hike, this percentage is likely to be revised, in view of the deal worked out this week,” Mr Jayawardena stressed.

Meanwhile, Dr Batagoda insisted the unions “gained nothing” from their eight-day strike. He claimed the deal signed this week was based on proposals the Govt presented to the CEB, before they went on strike.

“We were firm in our resolve to provide uninterrupted power throughout the strike, and we issued termination letters to casual workers and those on probation,” the Secretary observed, adding that, the unions were left with no choice but to return to the negotiating table, and agree to the deal.

“I don’t believe we will see another strike of this nature regarding salaries at the CEB,” he quipped.

He also insisted the salary hikes will not result in an increase in consumers’ Electricity bills.


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