Settling SLTB losses is priority – Nimal Siripala
Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva says that although the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) has only 6,000 buses it has around 36,000 employees and that is roughly 6 workers for each bus. He stated that as the average salary of an SLTB employee is Rs 40,000 if the wages alone are to be covered from a bus, it should bring in at least Rs 240,000 per month. In addition to this a considerable cost is required for fuel, spare parts and other expenses, he said. Addressing a press conference in Colombo today, the minister said that the SLTB has now become a loss-making institution and that currently gratuity of a large number of employees has not been paid while EPF has not been credited in several years. Nimal Siripala de Silva said that an arrears of Rs 10 million needs to be credited to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and that after the new government came to power that amount is gradually being settled. He said that while some employees have filed legal action against the SLTB administration over the failure to pay gratuity, measures have been taken to provide gratuity for 1,133 employees who have not taken such legal action. Another 1,320 employees will receive their due gratuity in the near future, he said. The Minister of Transport said that their only intention is to make the SLTB’s expenditure equal to the income and settle losses before even considering how to make it profitable. A series of measure will be introduced for this purpose, he said.