Financial Times

LMSL worker compensation package being worked out

Following discussions with the Department of Labour with representatives of Lanka Marine Services Limited ((LMSL), a tentative compensation package for the workers was agreed upon in the amount of Rs.153,228,593. A letter from the Labour Deparment addressed to the Attorney General dated 9 September 2008 states that based on the calculations of a formulate in respect of 113 workers in LMSL, the above stated amount was deposited for 'compensation including ex-gratia payment and for gratuity.'
According to the same letter, the LMSL representatives were Ms. Romesh Ranasinghe and Ms. Devika Weerasinghe. The worker representatives were not present although they had been informed over the phone.

The letter explains that the rough calculations on the compensation package was the formula adopted for VRS Scheme offered to the workers (29th July 2003) based on the last drawn salary as at present. The payment of compensation was subject to a ceiling of minimum Rs.100,000 and a maximum of Rs.750,000.

In a fax dated 9 September 2008, Managing Director of LMSL Mr. Romesh David stated that the company has opened a bank account named 'Lanka Marine Services (Private) Limited, Labour Commissioner's Account' with Citibank and confirmed depositing the Rs.153,228,593. The fax was addressed to the Commissioner of Labour, Industrial Relations Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake and copied to the Additional Solicitor General Mr. Y.J.W. Wijetilleke, Director General of the Employers' Federation of Ceylon Mr. Ravi Peiris and Abdeen Associates.

Mr. David added in the same fax that the money will remain in the said account in accordance with the judgment until the ultimate determination by the Commissioner of Labour of any sum payable to the employees. He added that it would be appreciated 'if you could kindly request the employees to carry out their functions, including working overtime towards the removal of the oil and lubricants from the land forthwith so as to ensure that all stocks of oil and lubricants are removed by 12th September 2008 in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court on an urgent basis.' Mr. David further noted that the Supreme Court directed that the computation be made and intimated within one day to facilitate the transfer of the oil and lubricants.

However workers say they have informed the Labour Department that the 2003 figures are not relevant today and the compensation package should be much higher.

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