(CMR) China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) is at the center of reported labour dispute in Jamaica according to local media there.
The Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory Employees (UCASE) has rejected an assertion made by the Ministry of Labour that no official complaint has been made regarding a dispute between workers and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) in the Mandela Highway improvement project.
“This dispute with China Harbour and its employees is not new and Ministry of Labour and Social Security having sent officers there to investigate the workers complaint, cannot justify its claim that it was not aware of the issues negatively impacting the workers on the construction site. Indeed the ministry's last report dated May 29, 2017 tried unsuccessfully to address some of the issues the employees on the site,”
UCASE said in a release today.
The workers have been protesting against a range of issues, including working conditions, wages, a lack of potable drinking water, and overtime.
President of UCASE, Vincent Morrison, said approximately 150 workers are affected.
Subsequently, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Audrey Sewell on Wednesday evening convened a meeting with the management of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the National Works Agency (NWA) and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Collette Roberts Risden and her team.
It was during this meeting that Government officials noted that no formal complaint has been made to the ministry regarding the dispute.
Meanwhile, Government officials requested information on rates paid to workers and whether CHEC has been complying with industry standards. CHEC assured the meeting that rates are paid based on industry standards and that work on the Mandela Highway Improvement Project continues.
However, UCASE argues that “China Harbour's assertion that they are paying rates based on industry standards is not true”.
According to the Union,
“the meeting would have been better served and interest of the workers would have been more assured and the truth would have evolved had the workers and their representatives through UCASE and BITU were invited to attend.”
CHEC is said to be one of the final three bidders for the Cayman Islands port berthing project.Source