Work at Water Metro’s Vyttila site hit by pending wage issues

70-odd workforce not paid for nearly a month by sub contracting firm

The work at the construction site of a Water Metro office building in Vyttila was disrupted on Tuesday reportedly owing to the non-payment of pending wages to a predominantly migrant workforce by the sub contractor.

Allegedly, the 70-odd workforce, including around 60 migrant workers, has not been paid the wages for nearly a month by the sub contracting firm engaged by the construction firm to which the Kochi Metro Rail Limited originally assigned the work.

“We were told by the original contractor, Mary Matha Construction Company, that they had already paid the sub contractor, who in turn, promised to clear the dues, initially, by Saturday and then by Monday evening. Then they went incommunicado since Tuesday morning following which the entire workforce, including around four workers each affiliated to INTUC and CITU decided to down the tools,” said a worker affiliated to the INTUC on condition of anonymity.

He claimed that around ₹2 lakh to ₹3 lakh was due to the migrant workers who were finding it hard to meet even daily expenses. Work is unlikely to resume unless the dues are cleared.

Repeated efforts to contact an official of Mary Matha in charge of the construction site failed as his mobile was switched off.

“There is an issue of pending wages, which happens now and then. But our workers haven’t struck work,” said Satyan P.R., district committee member of CITU, downplaying the issue.

The sub contractor issued a part of the wages after work was disrupted owing to pending wages. But a worker said whether the work would resume without full payment of dues remained to be seen.

KMRL sources said that they had nothing to do with the sub contractor but only with Mary Matha, which had been assigned the work. Work had not been disrupted in any of the 14 sites of Water Metro except Vyttila. “We have asked the construction company in unequivocal terms that work should not be affected and have also asked them to report about the issues,” said sources.

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