We do not support Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya strike action
By Krishan Jayasuriya
Pragathi Banku Sevaka Sangamaya yesterday (19) said they would not support the trade union action proposed by the Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya (Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union).
President of Pragathi Banku Sevaka Sangamaya, Nishantha Samarasinghe, told a Media briefing that although the Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya claims a massive loan has been granted to a newspaper company because of its political connection, that allegation was false.
“The particular loan has been granted to this newspaper company according to Bank and Monetary laws,” he said.
Samarasigne alleged the Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya did not raise its voice against the Central Bank Bonds scam which took place during the former UNF regime.
“We were also members of the Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya back then. But we had to cancel our membership because of their wrong conduct. During the UNF regime they carried out political agendas. They did not look to the progress of the BOC. They only worked to achieve their personal goals and protect those who were involved in corruption at that time. That was why we established the Pragathi Banku Sevaka Sangamaya. We have a membership of around 3,000 now,” he said.
Samarasinghe said many Bank employees who were against corruption were with the Pragathi Banku Sevaka Sangamaya. Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya has built a mafia in State Banks, he alleged.
“Anyone who has connections with the Government and the Opposition could obtain loans from a State Bank if they fulfil the requirements. If something was wrong in that process, we would object to it regardless of any political links. We only need to stop false rumours being spread,” he added.
“A Trade Union is preparing to launch a strike on 22 April. Their demand is that pensions should be given and the service years of 1,700 employees who were recruited in 2008 be reduced from three to two years. The pension issue commenced in 1996, we fought for it for 18 years and in 2014 we won the fight under the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We were able to win new pension schemes for employees of both the BOC and the People’s Bank. This so called trade union never attempted to increase that hard earned pension.
Therefore, it is useless to launch a strike regarding that matter now. They are trying to get employees recruited in 2008 lose their jobs by engaging in a strike action. However, members of their union are now leaving it and the Lanka Banku Sewaka Sangamaya wants to keep them in their union. That is why they stage dramas of this nature,” he alleged.
“This union talks about a loan being granted to a newspaper company. They allege the said loan was approved as a result of political connections. This is wrong and misleading as the loan was given under the revolving fund loan scheme. When granting that loan, two properties in Colombo and Ja-Ela have been taken as guarantees against the loan. Any company can obtain a loan within the legal framework. There is no rule that someone with political connections could not obtain a loan from a Bank,” he pointed out.
General Secretary of the Pragathi Banku Sevaka Sangamaya said the union would never support the strike called by the Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya.
He said, “We fought and won the pension rights taken away from us in 1996 during the tenure of Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We should be thankful to him for that. The UNF regime cut the pension scheme. That is the truth. When that happened, this so called union did not utter a word against it. Now they are trying to launch trade union action. We accept that it is a right of trade unions. But we cannot support unfair and baseless trade union action.”
Treasurer of the union, Deepthi Mahanama said the Lanka Banku Sevaka Sangamaya is trying to cause distress to employees and customers by launching strikes.