‘R10 an hour’ for site work

Afro Voice (KwaZulu Natal) - - Front Page - Si­bongisenim@the­newage.co.za



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.

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