Airport worker's room for complaint

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 May, 1996, 12:00am


ROOM for rent: no running water, no shops for miles, no television, eating or cooking allowed. Cost: just $7,500 a month.

Chek Lap Kok worker Les Pope may have a room with a view, but he has to brush his teeth with water from the toilet cistern, sometimes go for days without a proper wash and catch a boat to the mainland for shopping.

'We are living in squalid conditions,' Mr Pope said, adding the discontent was such that 'if it carries on, there will be riots'.

Mr Pope is one of 2,000 workers living in camps provided by the Provisional Airport Authority (PAA). He pays $7,500 a month rent, plus the cost of his meals in the canteen.

He said there had not been an adequate water supply since the camp opened nine months ago.

'There's no water for shaving or showers. I have to clean my teeth with toilet water - that's when there's water in the cistern,' he said.

Mr Pope, a supervisor for contractors Nishimatsu-Costain, said without a shop on the site, 'you can't buy necessities'.

There was also a lack of entertainment, he said.

'You're not allowed to have a kettle or TV - they say there's not enough power. You're not allowed to have food in your room - they say it's considered unhygienic,' he said.

Mr Pope said the workers had taken their problems to the PAA 'but nothing gets done'.

'When you get to the canteen, the food's cold. It can take three-quarters of an hour to get to the front of the queue,' Mr Pope said.

'The camp is only half full - what are they going to do when it's full?' PAA spokesman Phillip Bruce said: 'We know they [the workers] have been having some problems. Work was being done yesterday to make sure there's a proper water supply.' Mr Bruce said the possibility of a shop on the site was being looked into, but he said he was unaware of long queues for meals.