Sunwing pilots win wage boost more benefits in new collective agreement

TORONTO — Pilots at Sunwing Airlines have ratified their first collective agreement with the charter and vacation air carrier.The Canadian Auto Workers Union, which represents the 150 pilots, say the agreement was approved by a margin of 78%.The three-year deal includes an across-the-board wage increase of between one to two per cent per year each year, plus an incremental increase based on years of service, retroactive to Dec. 1, 2012.The CAW says it will also see increases to pensions, annual sick days, maternity benefits and the creation of a work-sharing program as part of an effort to reduce layoffs during the low season.The deal also includes 40 to 50 new hires, not including 19 seasonal pilots that have recently been offered permanent contracts.The CAW says the agreement will also address workers’ concerns over pilot fatigue and scheduling issues.“The solidarity of the members and the bargaining committee’s hard work helped ensure a strong agreement for our pilot group while allowing Sunwing Airlines to remain competitive over the long term,” said Capt. Dave Matkovich, president of CAW Local 7378.The pilots had been without a contract since December and became members of the CAW in January 2012.The union, Canada’s largest private sector union, represents 11,600 members in the air transportation industry.Last month, a tentative deal was reached between Sunwing and the union representing its 900 flight attendants.It is also the first collective agreement for the flight attendants after they joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees last year.Sunwing Airlines operates from bases in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.It is a subsidiary of Sunwing Travel Group and a sister company to Sunwing Vacations, Signature Vacations and SellOffVacations. read more

Former CJ Sarath Silva at Medamulana

Sarath Silva had, ahead of the January elections, spoken against Rajapaksa and pushed for his removal from power. (Colombo Gazette) Former Chief Justice Sarath Silva, who backed President Maithripala Sirisena at the January Presidential elections, was among those present at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s house at Madamulana today.The former Chief Justice took part in religious observances held to mark Poya Day ahead of the much awaited announcement by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding his plans for the August 17 Parliament elections.

Cabinet approval granted to compensate Kilinochchi traders

Cabinet approval has been granted to provide compensation for the business owners affected by the recent Kilinochchi fire as per a Cabinet Memorandum submitted by Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan.The Cabinet paper was submitted on 21st October 2016, by Minister Swaminathan, in concurrence with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. As per the recommendations of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe it has been approved to pay 74 million rupees for the 122 affected owners of the business establishments. In addition, approval has been granted to establish a sophisticated fire brigade system in Kilinochchi with fire fighting bowsers, rescue vehicles etc at a cost of 97 million rupees. It has also been approved to construct a market complex in Kilinochchi to support the business established destroyed by the fire at an estimated cost of 150 million rupees.The fire broke out in Kilinochchi destroying nearly 122 shops on 16th September 2016. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Moodys affirms Sri Lankas B1 rating maintains negative outlook

Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has today affirmed the Government of Sri Lanka’s foreign currency issuer and senior unsecured ratings at B1 and maintained the negative outlook.The decision to affirm the rating at B1 reflects Sri Lanka’s progress in implementing the planned reform program, which entails fiscal consolidation and a build-up foreign exchange reserves buffers, ahead of the end of the IMF Extended Fund Facility program in June 2019, along with its moderate per capita income levels, and stronger institutions relative to many similarly-rated sovereigns. That feature dominates Sri Lanka’s credit profile. The government could face significantly tighter refinancing conditions at some point during the next few years, which would quickly lead to much weaker debt affordability and a higher debt burden, especially if the currencydepreciated at the same time.Concurrently, the local-currency bond and deposit ceilings remain unchanged at Ba1. The foreign-currency bond ceiling is unchanged at Ba2 and the foreign currency deposit ceiling at B2. Under its IMF Extended Fund Facility Program, Sri Lanka continues to advance reforms that support fiscal consolidation and attempt to reduce external vulnerabilities. Progress in fiscal consolidation and in building up of reserves buffers strengthens the credit profile by providing greater assurance of Sri Lanka’s ability to refinance its domestic and external debt at affordable costs.The government’s commitment to continuing to broaden and deepen its revenue base including through implementation of the Inland Revenue Act (IRA), which came into effect in April 2018, will bolster revenue generation. Moreover, legislative measures pursuant to changes in the Fiscal Management Responsibility Act aim to apply fiscal rules that ensure deficit and debt consolidation efforts endure beyond the conclusion of the IMF program.In addition, the planned changes to the Monetary Law Act should strengthen the credibility and effectiveness of Sri Lanka’s monetary policy, helping the central bank anchor inflation expectations and prevent fiscal dominance. If effective, this would contribute to stabilising the cost of debt at lower levels and as a result enhance fiscal flexibility. The decision to maintain the negative outlook reflects Sri Lanka’s ongoing high vulnerability to a potential tightening in external and domestic financing conditions, given relatively large borrowing needs, reliance on external funding and still low reserves adequacy. This is balanced against Moody’s expectation that the sovereign’s fiscal strength will remain very low and government liquidity and external vulnerability risk will remain rating constraints. In addition, the government plans to further diversify external funding sources through the issuance of Chinese renminbi or Japanese yen denominated bonds, as well as loans from other bilateral or multilateral lenders. The Active Liability Management Act (ALMA) will provide the government with some flexibility to smooth the timing of its debt refinancing operations within a given year. Over time, effective use of the ALMA may allow the Sri Lankan government to smooth somewhat the consecutive large debt maturities over the period 2019-2023 and to prevent the recurrence of such a concentration in future. During the next few years, however, thegains will be limited given the high frequency of debt repayments. read more