B1.28bn payout for Suksapan staff

B1.28bn payout for Suksapan staff

Money for severance may be borrowed

Over 1.28 billion baht will be spent to compensate hundreds of employees set to be laid off in August from their jobs at the Education Ministry's textbook publishing and sales office, according to its spokesman.

A total of 961 employees at the ministry's publishing and sales office, often referred to as "Suksapan", were set to be laid off in about a month after the office on June 29 announced it was suffering a debt crisis totalling more than 6.7 billion baht.

The board of the Office of the Welfare Promotion Commission for Teachers and Educational Personnel met yesterday and agreed to start giving the employees 100,000 baht on Friday before the termination takes effect on Aug 1.

Thanaporn Somsri, a spokesman for the office, yesterday said the board has calculated compensation packages based on the current economic and social situation.

Employees who have worked over 20 years would receive severance pay that equals 13 months' salary. Employees who have worked for less than 20 years would receive a 300-day severance package.

The highest severance package to be paid is reportedly worth about four million baht and the lowest is worth about 500,000 baht.

Suksapan has been in debt over the past 15 years.

The spokesman said the decision to reduce the number of personnel was made now, not earlier, as the office needs to make cuts due to urgent demand for textbooks ahead of the new school semester on Wednesday.

The average length of employment among the 961 staffers is 25 years and five months, and the average salary is 31,287 baht per month.

When combined with pensions worth about 861 million baht for some employees, the office would need more than 1.28 billion baht to compensate them.

Suksapan will have to borrow money to compensate the workers to be laid off.

The board of the Office of the Welfare Promotion Commission for Teachers and Educational Personnel on Tuesday appointed Abdul Butsa as Suksapan's new director.

Mr Abdul is tasked with urgently drafting rehabilitation and business plans for the organisation.

With debts of 6.7 billion baht, some of the employees doubt the Education Ministry's publishing and sales arm would be able to pay the severance.

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