PESHAWAR: The board of directors of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (EZDMC) has directed one of its committees to examine the cases of more than 160 employees likely to be laid off through a golden handshake.

The company has decided to offer a golden handshake to 168 employees of the defunct Sarhad Development Authority (DSDA), which was abolished in 2015 after the task of the province’s industrialisation was given to the EZDMC.

Around 84 employees of the defunct authority had availed themselves of the facility in 2017. The company is understood to be considering the same process for the remaining employees.

Eighty-four availed themselves of facility in 2017

The documents show that the board’s human resource committee was tasked with making recommendations for the purpose earlier this year. The committee completed the task in Feb, while the recommendations were presented before the company’s board in the April 30 meeting.

The committee recommended golden handshake for the remaining employees on 4:1 formula or four salaries per year multiplied by the numbers of years served in the authority.

The board meeting’s minutes available with Dawn note that company’s management had presented three options to the DSDA’s employees, including golden handshake, 50 per cent pay raise for those wishing to join the EZDMC on its terms and conditions, and the continuation in the same pay scales with additional allowances.

The human resource committee had recommended golden handshake for all remaining employees on 4:1 formula.

The minutes notes that the board was informed that a total of 168 employees served in the company and negotiated proposal was to offer four gross salaries for every year of service to employees opting for golden handshake.

Committee chairman Wahajul Siraj informed the board that the 2017 handshake scheme offering three gross salaries for every year of service was opted by 84 employees, who were paid a total of Rs197 million.

He informed the board that the additional incentive was to be offered to encourage more employees to opt for the new scheme, which required incremental improvement from the previous scheme and therefore, the number of salaries had to be increased from three to four.

The committee chairman said if all employees opted for the new scheme, then the total cost would be around Rs258 million.

“Around 50 per cent of employees will opt for the golden handshake scheme and thus, costing the company around Rs127 million,” the minutes read.

The board was informed that the amount could be secured from the company’s current year budget and the committee had recommended a golden handshake for employees.

However, a board member observed that there were around 80 Class-IV employees among the defunct authority’s staff members, who currently worked in industrial estates all over the province, and if they were laid off, the new staff was to be hired.

The board sought details of all cadres of employees. The board members also pointed out that those getting 3:1 formula would move the court against ‘discrimination’.

After deliberation, the board directed the committee to review the case and submit recommendations afresh.

It also sought legal opinion about those, who had availed themselves of golden handshake in 2017, to minimise the risk of them seeking additional payment through litigation.

An office-bearer of the DSDA Employees Association told Dawn that the association held talks with the committee and board and did their best to alley their concerns.

He said it was up to the board to make offers after reaching a settlement.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2019

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