Cinderella treatment for Embilipitiya paper mill workers?
By Madhushala Senaratne
The National Paper Company (NPC) is not in a position to pay the December salaries of over 300 employees at its paper mill in Embilipitiya, its chairman Sumith Lal Mendis said.
This is adding to the woes of the workers already affected by irregular payments since April this year, However, Mr. Mendis said the matter had being referred to the Industrial Development Ministry and the Treasury and assured the issue would be resolved this week.
The employees at Embilipitiya have received only 50% of their salary in November and they claimed that this too had been paid after complaints to the authorities. Since April this year, payments have being irregular with the employees receiving merely 75% of their total monthly salary, which has resulted in them facing dire financial straits.
Mr. Mendis said the Treasury had been making payments to the employees till April this year. “However NPC took over when the Treasury stopped making payments as it did not have sufficient funds,” he said.
Although production has not been taking place at the mills for the last five years, all other departments including the accounts, supplies and legal departments have been in operation.
“Though production is not taking place, the office is functioning. So if the employees mark their attendance we pay them,” Mr. Mendis said.
The workers had complained that only they received irregular payments while the employees at the National Paper Company head office in Colombo and those at the Valaichchenai mills had received their full salaries on time.
However, Mr. Mendis said the Valaichchenai employees were also faced with a similar issue, which was resolved by increasing production and paying the workers from the enhanced revenue.