Employment of Magampura Port workers not terminated, November salaries paid

Sri Lanka Ports Authority clarifies baseless reports

Rejecting what it called “several inaccurate and misconceived reports” relating to the Magampura Port Management Company (Pvt) Ltd., (MPMC), the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) clarified that the employment of the workers has not been terminated and their November salaries were paid.

“The salaries were paid despite attempts by some workers to cause delays in such payment by sabotaging the administrative functions of MPMC. We understand that MPMC will continue to pay salaries until further notice and until further steps are taken according to law”, SLPA said in a statement.

MPMC has clearly and repeatedly given the employees these assurances. However, the workers for reasons best known to them have continued to engage in illegal and wrongful activities that prejudice the security of the Magampura Port and the general need for law and order in the area, the statement asserted.

There are proceedings before an Industrial Court to decide what relief the employees of MPMC are entitled to upon its closure. Both SLPA and MPMC will continue to participate in these proceedings. MPMC has also offered all its employees a “voluntary resignation scheme” with substantially higher compensation than what is required in terms of the law, which a group of employees has already accepted, it said.

As is common knowledge, the Magampura port, in its present state, is economically nonviable and the State is saddled with heavy debt and debt servicing costs. As such the government took a policy decision to enter into a Public Private Partnership in order to infuse needed investments to the Magampura port to make it financially viable and to reduce public debt, the statement noted.

In order to facilitate this, MPMC which, itself, has to service colossal debts to local banks and was substantially reliant on business redirected from Colombo Port, had to handover the Magmpura port back to the SLPA. It was under these circumstances that MPMC asked its employees not to report to work from November 30, 2017, it further said.

MPMC has no work to offer but has, nonetheless, assured employees that their salaries will continued to be paid. As such, it is inaccurate and deliberately misleading to state that SLPA and/or MPMC have acted contrary to the law. SLPA will continue to work towards the just resolution of the issues relating to the employees of MPMC, while being mindful of the broader national economic interest of the State which, in the ultimate, should be of concern to all, the statement added.

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