Msunduzi blamed for meter firm’s pay dispute

2010-06-18 00:00

THE controversial meter reading company, Riotec Metering Solutions, is embroiled in another pay dispute as companies subcontracted by the company on behalf of the Msunduzi Municipality to perform electrical connections and disconnections have not been paid for the past five months.

This has resulted in more than 30 workers contracted to SBS Electrical and Elect Mech not receiving their wages.

Riotec is no stranger to pay controversies. Previously it was involved in running battles with its own meter reading staff members after it had failed to pay their salaries on time.

Senior personnel members from the two subcontracted companies, who did not want to be named, confirmed they are still negotiating for their money. “Riotec has not paid us; we are still waiting on them,” said a source with SBS Electrical. A source with Elect Mech said, “Currently we are busy negotiating and I cannot say any more than that.”

Workers said the companies owe them thousands in unpaid wages that have accumulated over the past five months.

“There are 30 workers between the two companies, and all of them are owed more than R20 000 in unpaid wages,” said a source. “We have not been paid since January, and our managers keep telling us that they are busy negotiating with the Riotec Company. However, so far nothing has come of it.”

Thiru Chetty, chief operating officer of Riotec, confirmed the company is having cash flow problems and has not paid its subcontractors. He blamed the Msunduzi Municipality for the problem.

“The municipality has for the last while been experiencing certain cash flow challenges. As a consequence … it has not paid our company… Consequently, we have not paid the contracting companies.”

He said the payment to their subcontractors will depend on when the municipality pays them.

At yesterday’s executive committee meeting, intervention team member Ben Dorfling said Unique Mbane, the parent company of Riotec, has not been paid because the municipality is still thrashing out the legalities of the contract.

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