PHUKET: At a closed meeting today, representatives from the Evason Phuket & Bon Island resort revealed financial statements to prove that the resort company does not have the capacity to pay for demands made by workers summarily dismissed last Tuesday.
“The Human Resource Manager and the Accounting Manager from the resort are here today to present financial statements from their company,” said Thanapong Orachorn, the officer at Phuket Provincial Labour Protection and Welfare Office, assigned to meet the representatives.
“They say that the company even has to borrow from the buyer just to pay for the redundancy packages being offered and that they cannot afford to offer any more to the workers in terms of financial assistance.
“If the firm can prove that it lacks the capacity to pay the claims, then no action will be taken… I will pass this information on to the union,” Mr Thanapong added.
Mr Thanapong’s statement of no action under the “capacity to pay principle” follows that of his chief, Kittipong Laonipon, Director of the Phuket Provincial Office of Labor Protection and Welfare Office, last Thursday.
Mr Kittipong, who is personally overseeing the complaint filed by the resort staff through the Phuket Island Union, was unable to attend today as he was in Satun province on a work seminar.
Mr Thanapong also confirmed that the redundancy package being offered comprises salary payment according to Thai law, plus one month advance notice, a bonus as per agreement with the union, health insurance cover until November 2012 and a job reference, as announced by Sonu Shivdasani, founder and CEO of the Soneva Group, in the hotel press release on Saturday.
However, union vice president Warin Sungkong today told the Gazette that the union had yet to hear from resort management since filing a complaint with Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha last Thursday.
“We were not invited to join the talks today, but I previously acknowledged that the hotel will pay us in accordance with labor law, a bonus, health insurance and compensation since they didn’t notify us one month in advance.
“But they still have not mentioned anything about compensation based on length of service with the hotel, which we requested in the complaint [filed with Governor],” said Mr Warin.
He added that the union was invited to join talks with hotel management at the Labor Protection and Welfare Office on June 12, at 2 pm.
“In the next meeting, I will again talk to them about the redundancy package we have requested, and tell them that if the new hotel opens and starts hiring staff, we want them to consider hiring the former employees of the Evason Phuket resort first,” he said.
In his statement on Saturday, in addition to confirming the full redundancy packages being offered, Mr Shivdasani said, “I would like to take this opportunity to give my personal thanks to all of the hosts at Evason Phuket for their commitment and hard work.
“We are working hard to provide alternative employment to as many hosts as possible. In addition, we have agreed a package for any Evason Phuket hosts whom we can’t employ elsewhere.”
— Orawin Narabal
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