More than 500 CEB engineers to report sick today over appointment of Acting GM

Ceylon Electricity Board - Sri Lanka

More than 500 engineers attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) will launch a sick-note campaign today near the CEB headquarters, CEBEU President Saumya Kumarawadu said.

Kumarawadu told journalists yesterday that the union had been compelled to resort to such trade union after 10 years as CEB Chairman M. M. C. Ferdinando had appointed Eng. Dr. M.N. Susantha Perera the General Manager on temporary basis.

However, the engineers rostered for work would function, the CEBEU chief said.

The CEBEU President said that the appointment had been made in violation of Section 5(1) of the CEB Act (the appointment be made with approval from the Power Minister) and Section 5(4) (the GM shall retire from office at the age of 60 years).

Others backing the Chairman’s action said “the Board of CEB had unanimously appointed Dr. Perera as the Acting General Manager of CEB on a temporary basis, pursuant to the order of the Court of Appeal dated January 12, 2022, under the powers vested in the Board in Section 5 (1) of the Ceylon Electricity Board Act, No. 17 of 1969, it has claimed.

“The Court Order states that the Board should make the said appointment on temporary basis under Section 5 (1) of the CEB Act. The Court order does not state that its order should be read in conjunction with any other provisions in the CEB Act.

“Specifically, the Court order does not state that the age of the person selected for appointment as the General Manager on temporary basis should be below 60 years, or the said appointment should be subject to Section 5 (4) of the CEB Act. However, this is a moot point since the retirement age of all CEB employees has been increased to 62.

“The order of the Court of Appeal is an interim order that will remain in force until the final determination of the case.

“The CEBEU claims that the above appointment of Dr. Perera as the General Manager is illegal and violated the order of the Court of Appeal, based on its own interpretation of the said Court Order. The CEBEU has conceded that the suitability of the person appointed as the General Manager shall be determined in terms of Section 5 (1) of the CEB Act.

“Hence, the CEBEU cannot second guess an order issued by the Court of Appeal and take the position that the said order should be read together with Section 5 (4) or any other provision in the CEB Act when the Court has not made any reference to such provisions in its order.

“Section 5 (1) of the CEB Act states that “the Board shall, with the approval of the Minister, appoint a competent and experienced person as the General Manager of the Board.” In communicating the Board’s decision taken on 14 -01-2022, the Chairman of CEB has stated that he obtained the Minister’s concurrence to appoint Dr. Perera as the General Manager based on the Court order.

“The General Manager is a CEB employee and subject to all CEB rules and regulations, including the disciplinary rules applicable to CEB employees. The CEBEU’s argument that the person appointed as the General Manager should not be an outsider, or a

person “not eligible to be appointed as a CEB employee” has no basis since Section 5 (1) or any other clause in the CEB Act contains no such requirement.”

(Source: The Island – By Ifham Nizam)

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