Drayang employees left worried after govt. snub

Most employees say they are left in the cold while only owners are being compensated

SANGAY RABTEN | Thimphu

With the closure of Drayangs in the country, employees who had taken advance payment from their companies are now concerned that they will be unable to repay their debts. 

However, on the brighter side, Drayangs proprietors are also undecided about requesting the advance compensation paid to their staff.

Tshewang Dema, a Druk Jurmmy Drayang employee, expressed concern about not being able to repay the company for the advance salary she had availed.

Before the closing of Drayang, she had taken an advance of about Nu 22,000 which she now claims that she will be unable to pay should her employees come asking for it.

“I have a child to raise, rent, and other bills to pay. I hope the government will compensate us and help us in paying our dues since we have nowhere to seek support from,” the desperate mother said. 

A mother of four children Tshering Zangmo who lives in Phuentsholing said she had received an advance payment of around Nu 30,000. She is concerned about repaying the loan. “We want the government to recognize our predicament because of the closure of Drayang and compensate us,” she said.

“It would be irresponsible if we did not repay the advance we had borrowed. However, we must work to make enough money to repay the loan,” Tshering Zangmo said, adding the money she receives from Kidu is just enough for her daily sustenance.

Another Dayang worker from Punakha, Karma Yangzom, stated that her employer might not be able to relieve her from repaying the advance she obtained when the owner was losing a lot of money. “The advance was received without actually having worked so I am obliged to repay. We wish the government would compensate employees too and not only the owners.”

Passang from Bumthang believes that the government is being unfair by only compensating Drayang owners. She said the government should also consider the difficulties of employers. While she is grateful for the Royal Kidu she is concerned about repaying the advance salary she received.

Many Drayang workers, a majority of whom are women, had taken advance payment, according to Sangay Wangzom, who worked in one of the Drayangs in Phuentsholing. “Many are worried about how to pay it back,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sangay Khandu, the owner of Druk Jurmmy Drayang, stated that many employees had taken advance payments and that it would be difficult to excuse them from repaying them. 

“Some have even taken more than one hundred thousand as advance as they were desperate. It would be a huge loss if we cannot recover it,” he said.

Sangay added that his employees took salary advances ranging from Nu 10,000 to 40,000 claiming different difficult circumstances. The total salary advances his employees took come to around Nu 1.7-million.

Although the employees took advance payment, Lhamo Tshering, the owner of Zomlha Drayang in Bajo town, Wangduephodrang said that owners are powerless to ask them to pay back because they have no income.

“The government said nothing to provide sufficient remuneration to the owners or employees for making advance payments,” she said.

Sonam Tashi, the owner of Trophel Drayang in Gelephu, said owners are in a dilemma to ask their staff for upfront payment as they know they don’t have any source of income.