Workers protest pay cuts

Lae News, Normal

The National- Friday, February 4, 2011

 A MAJOR contractor of the LNG project is being urged to clarify the irregular rates for the pay of workers and fees for the hire of plant equipment.

The company, McConnell Dowell and Consolidated Contractors (MCJV), had not honoured agreements, a councillor from Southern Highlands said in Lae yesterday, while at the same time, drivers were pursuing explanations from the management over their pay.

Komo station councilor Habe Pazape of ward 23 in Komo-Margarima district claimed that MCJV was paying less than the hire rate signed in the memorandum of agreement (MoA). 

He said that MCJV was paying K400 an hour for PC 300 and between K250-300 for PC 200 excavators.

He said that according to the MoA signed between Hides Gas Development Company (HGDC), an umbrella landowner company, and ExxonMobil, MCJV, Esso Highlands Ltd and Red Sea, the hire rates for PC 200 was K400 an hour and PC 300 was K500 while it was K350 a load for dump trucks.

He said a dump truck with a capacity to carry 10 cubic metres is paid K160 an hour for a load and light vehicles were hired for K400 a day.

Pazape also said that MCJV paid K1.80 for one cubic metre of quarry when the agreed rate was between K5-10.

He said his people, who were contractors, were making a loss to repay bank loans and overheads.

Meanwhile, Lae-based MCJV employees engaged for engineering procurement construction Block 5 at Komo airport also complained about “unstable pay rates and unnecessary tax deductions”.

Employees said that they worked for 21 days and received 14 days pay. 

They said that when they raised their concerns in line with the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations laws, they were threatened with instant dismissal by an executive they have named.

MCJV would not comment on the workers’ grievances over the pay and hire rates.