Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) last week urged the Government to keep CEB as a single entity and to enter into a collective agreement with the trade unions before going ahead with the proposed reforms in the power sector.
CEBEU President Ananda Piyatillake said there will be no immediate union actions as they have forwarded their proposals to the Ministry and are awaiting the response. "Even if we are compelled to take union action we would take precautions to bring down bad impact, the strike would have on the economy," he said. "We have no plans to stage a strike or to take union action immediately," he said.
"But we are warning the Government before- hand that there will be an islandwide strike by all CEB employees if they (Government) go ahead with restructuring of the CEB without considering our views," he said.
Piyatillake said if the Government or the relevant authorities could show them how they were intending to bring down the electricity rates simply by going ahead with restructuring the union was ready to support the reforms even if it were to affect the interests of the workers.
After restructuring the companies will be able to increase the tariff further and this will in turn bring more hardships to the already burdened consumers.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Power Sector Reforms Office Nihal Wickramasuriya said the World Bank has pledged to cut down the interests of power sector debt, if the Sri Lankan power sector would go ahead with the reforms proposals, "that would not only benefit the power sector but also the consumers," he said."