Over 60 construction workers from the Cooks housing site made their way down to the National Housing Development and Urban Renewal Company Ltd. at Dredge Bay this morning to protest low pay and poor working conditions.
One worker, who described himself and his fellow protesters as “the less fortunate,” said they are often depicted as “jail workers,” “crazy men” and people that can neither read nor write.
“All we want is what they promised us,” another worker explained.
Outspoken construction worker, Michael Edwards aimed his ire directly at the Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister said ‘ready to rebuild’ and we’re here,” said Edwards.
“He said dust off your tools and nothing happen.”
Back in 2015, the workers staged major protests at the three major housing sites – Villa, Cooks Extension and Paynters – as they sought an audience with the managers of the housing development project.
The workers effort to have an audience was met with resistance as the housing managers summoned the police to have the workers removed from the property.
“We haven’t committed any crime, so I don’t want to talk to the police,” commented one worker defiantly.
Today, after promises of subsequent wage increases and work conditions failed to materialise in that two-year span, the workers were right back at it as they sought remedy in what some termed, “unfair working conditions,” and “bad treatment.”
The construction workers went on to lament the lack of running and drinking water on the job sites. One worker even commented that the workers have to use the nearby pond water to wash and clean themselves while working on site. They also complained of lack of safety material such as proper gas masks and the lack of adequate tools with which to work.
Persons who are ‘unskilled’ are paid a minimum of about $400 a week ($375 after deductions). Those who have years of experience are paid approximately $685 to $750 per week.
72 houses have been completed at the Cooks housing site to date with 127 workers on the site’s payroll.
The effort is apart of Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s flagship 2,000 affordable home programme.
A programme he has promised will be completed by the end of his first term in office.