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HomeLocal News‘Orphaned’ workers saga drags on

‘Orphaned’ workers saga drags on

LINDA SOKO TEMBO Writes

@SunZambian        

Ex-COOPERATIVA Muratori Cementisti di Ravenna (CMC di Ravenna) is demanding to be paid US$2.4 million retention money so that it can pay its workers their dues after the contractor abandoned the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Bombay Drainage project.  

CMC di Ravenna had done 98 percent of the drainage and only two percent of the works was remaining.

In an interview with the Sun, MCA-Zambia director for communications John Kunda said his organisation did not owe the contractor any money and that it had paid the company for all the 98 percent works it had done so far.

Dr Kunda said once a project was completed MCA-Zambia gave the contractor a period of one year which is known as defect notification period.

He said in an event that the structure had defects within that period the company was called back and given the retention money so that it could use part of it to rectify the defects.

Dr Kunda wondered why CMC wanted to pay its workers out of retention money and what would happen in an event that the project had defects.

“MCA cannot release the retention money before a period of one year elapses. How can you start paying workers out of that money and when there are defects on the project what are you going to do?

“If they want the money after one year and there are no defects they will still be given the money,” Dr Kunda said.

He wondered which money the contractor would use if defects were discovered before the expiry of the retention time.

Dr Kunda advised the workers to be patient, especially in such contracts, because there was a process that needed to be followed. The best MCA-Zambia could do was to talk to the contractor to pay their workers but not through retention money.

He said CMC should explain to the workers it had abandoned what retention money meant.

The contractor should stop giving orders from outside the country creating unnecessary problems and misinformation between MCA and the workers.

Retention money is money that is put aside in a construction project and is used when the project has defects after completion.

Dr Kunda said MCA was doing everything possible to communicate to CMC so that they could come back to Zambia and pays its works and also finish the works they claimed that had finished. 

On Tuesday, CMC workers stormed the offices of MCA-Zambia demanding to be paid last month’s salary, leave days and gratuity depending on the contract they had signed.

The workers had a screen shot of an email that was circulating on their WhatsApp groups that was showing CMC asking MCA to process a payment retention money so that the abandoned workers could be paid.  

One of the workers, Charles Mwitwa, said what CMC had done showed that it did not have a heart for the workers why did they go in the night without saying address the workers.

Mr Mwitwa appealed to Government to come on board and ensure that the workers were paid through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security because the workers were left with nothing and they had rentals to pay school fees among others and they were under pressure.

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