Meter readers left high and dry

2012-04-04 00:00

THE controversial meter reading company, Riotec Metering Solutions (RMS), is embroiled in yet another pay dispute with its workers, which has led to 100 of them downing tools.

Workers say they have not been paid for last month and won’t work until they are. They warn that as a result meters will not be read this month and consumers may face huge bills at the end of the month.

RMS is subcontracted by the company on behalf of the Msunduzi Municipality to perform electrical connections and disconnections. “We were told by our management that Msunduzi Municipality has not paid the company since November last year so they have run out of money to pay us,” said a worker, who asked not to be named.

He said management should have notified them that the company was going through financial problems with the municipality so that they could stop working until the differences have been resolved.

Other workers complained that their Easter Holidays had been ruined because they had no money. Workers said they did not deserve this because they riske their lives when visiting people’s homes when reading meters and were sometimes threatened by residents when disconnecting their electricity.

Willowton Meats owner and a director at RMS, Goolam Dawood, said he had already sent three invoices to the municipality, but the firm had not been paid.

“We are told that they are sitting in [the municipal manager] Mxolisi Nkosi’s office.”

Dawood said he was consulting his advocate about instituting legal action against the municipality, but that he had first asked for a meeting with Nkosi.

It is scheduled for today.

“We do not have money to pay workers because we have been using an overdraft just to pay our 100 workers and have run out of funds, so we have told our staff not to stop working until the municipality pays us,” he added.

Nkosi said the issue between RMS and the municipality was before the executive committee and today he was meeting with one of the directors of the company.

“As soon as the matter has been resolved, we will pay RMS because we are trying to regulate our relationship with them,” he said.

Nkosi said the issue of the RMS workers downing tools is not the municiplaity’s concern but that of RMS.

“If meter reading is stopped then we are going to have look at our legal options,” Nkosi added.

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