A total of 51 more employees of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have been interdicted for obstructing the services by refusing to accept bill payments from consumers during their three-day protests staged against the proposed restructuring of the state-owned electricity supplier.
CEB trade union members engaged in a series of protests for three days from January 03 – 05, challenging the government’s Bill to restructure the Board and the new Electricity Bill.
On Friday (Jan.15), the CEB suspended 15 clerical staff members in charge of the cash counters for inconveniencing the customers, who had come to pay their bills, by closing the windows of the counters and refraining from accepting payments.
Accordingly, 66 employees in total remain interdicted.
The CEB says further inquiries are underway to identify other employees who refrained from performing their duties and disrupted the services amidst the trade union action.
Ahead of the trade union action, the CEB management, by way of a circular, had cancelled the leave of all employees with effect from January 02. However, in case of an urgent matter, the employees were allowed to take a leave, with the approval of an executive officer attached to the respective division or branch.
Meanwhile, Extraordinary Gazette No.2363.02 published on December 18, 2023, on the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, had declared all services connected to the electricity supply as essential public services.
After the three-day trade union action was launched, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera instructed the CEB management to suspend and take appropriate disciplinary action against the employees disrupting the services, or acting in violation of the guidelines.