$2m raised for unpaid workers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 April, 2006, 12:00am

A group of anonymous donors has raised $2 million to help unpaid construction workers employed by subcontractors under Dickson Construction.

The money will be distributed through the Construction Industry Employees General Union to all 619 unpaid workers it said had registered with the Labour Department before March 25.

Each of the workers will get $3,200. The consolation money would not affect the workers' claim on the unpaid wages to be settled by Dickson Construction and the subcontractors, the union said.

The Housing Authority had terminated main contractor Dickson Construction's contracts on three public estate projects and took them over in January because of serious delays in progress.

More than 600 construction workers have appealed to the Labour Department for help over unpaid wages, which amounted to nearly $10 million.

With the help of unionist Wong Kwok-hing, they are now submitting legal claims against Dickson Construction and applying to the government's insolvency fund in the hope of getting their money.

A spokesman for the union said the workers were encouraged by the donors' caring gesture.

'It's a stark contrast with the Housing Department,' he said, referring to the pledge by housing chief Thomas Chan Chun-yuen to urge the Housing Authority to pay the unsettled wages in advance, which the authority rejected.

Following rows over wage settlement, the government has tightened controls over its contractors and their subcontractors.