‘R10 an hour’ for site work
RUNWAY PARK MAIN CONTRACTOR ACCUSED OF EXPLOITING WORKERS
SUBCONTRACTORS involved in the construction of multipurpose facilities at Runway Park in Merebank were escorted off site by the police yesterday to prevent demonstrations by them over alleged under-payment by the main contractor.
The aggrieved subcontractors, Usisa Construction CC and Sakhezabo Construction, yesterday lodged a complaint with the department of labour accusing main contractor Rubro Building of exploiting workers and reneging on the previously agreed upon rates of pay.
Usisa Construction owner Baba Sbaya said more than 200 workers were being paid about R10 an hour, R140 less than the industry standard of R150 for a general labourer in construction.
“As a subcontractor, for 14 days of work I was paid R4000 which needs to be divided between myself and seven employees that I had brought on site,” Sbaya said.
He said he had been expecting about R14000 when the rates of pay were agreed upon before the start of construction on October 19.
“To begin with we were not happy about the rates Rubro was offering so we renegotiated and came to an agreement as we pay our workers R150 for general labour and R250 for an artisan. I should have realised there was something wrong when we were not given a contract to sign but were made to sign a memorandum of understanding,” Sbaya said.
Zakhele Ngubane of Sakhezabo Construction accused the main contractor of a lack of ethics.
“The induction which should have been done by the safety officer was done by someone else. When we started they never asked us for any medical certificates, just IDs and bank statements, not other paperwork which is a requirement in construction,” Ngubane said.
Nokuthula Ntuli also with Sakhezabo said the aim was not just to get their money back but also to prevent a disaster at the site along South Coast Road as safety standards were not being followed.
Rubro director Charl Roux, however dismissed the allegations saying the subcontractors had been paid in full and were now after more money.
The department of labour confirmed receiving a compliance complaint and said it was looking into the matter.
Work at the construction site is still continuing after another contractor chose to remain on site.