The FDI company has shutdown for an indefinite period

Employment: SKW-Tashi Metals and Alloys Private Limited, a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) business in Pasakha has retrenched 160 employees recently. The FDI firm is also shut at present.

After failing to operate and earn, the FDI that was temporarily shut since mid 2015 decided to retrench its employees on February 18 this year. Few employees had also voluntarily resigned before the mass downsize.

The FDI commenced with an investment of Nu 1.123 Billion (B) in 2011 and deals in calcium silicide and cored wire products. It is a partnership between Tashi Metals and Alloys Private Limited and the German based establishment, SKW Stahl Metallurgie Holding AG.

In a notice submitted to the regional labour office in Phuentsholing, the management had stated that the company has not been able to carry out its operation due to decline in market condition leading to redundancy of the employees for about seven months and loss of income. Accordingly, it retrenched the employees as per Section 90 and 91 of the labour and employment act of Bhutan, 2007.

The company management also had discussed the decision with the employees prior to the termination. Employees have been provided their rightful benefits as per the service rule.

However, it is the speculations that are rife about possible differences between the two partners that have been doing the rounds. Kuensel learned that the German counterpart SKW had also approached the Chukha court and appealed to register “a bankruptcy” case against its Bhutan partner.

However, the case was denied registration, Chukha court officials confirmed.

Kuensel also met an ex-employee who has started his own business today. He was not very happy with the decision implemented.

“I left with just three months to complete my five years duration with the company,” he said, wishing anonymity.

Although the financial benefits had to be considered, the former employee shared it was the five years experience that could have counted in his career.

The former employees of the SKW-Tashi Metals and Alloys Private Limited did not share what problem their employers were going through that had triggered the downsizing. There were 186 employees with the FDI at the time of retrenchment.

Of the total 160 retrenched, 55 were in the production department, while 23 employees were in mechanical department. Many are still searching for jobs today, while some have settled in for other jobs.

Although the SKW-Tashi Metals and Alloys Private Limited had kept the employees paid since it stopped operating last year, problem started in December when 83 employees had sought Phuentsholing labour office’s intervention to avail their salaries for October and November. After labour office’s inspection, employees were later paid their dues.

SKW holds 51 percent of the ownership, while the remaining 49 percent belongs to Tashi Metals. The project was approved in 2008.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing