9 January 2014

Liberia: Work Begins for Caldwell Bridge - Workers Cite Bad Labor Practice

Chinese Henan International Construction Company (CHICO) has begun the construction of the Caldwell Bridge on the Bushrod Island, in Montserrado County.

The Engineer of Chinese Henan International Construction Company (CHICO), Mr. Yang De Chang disclosed that the project is estimated at US$80 millions and it is sponsored by the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the World Bank.

Mr. Chang explained that CHICO has quality building materials to do the construction of the Bridge and expects to have it completed hopefully by June, 2015.

"Right now we have few workers who are working with us but we have planned to bring additional employees so as to enable us speed up the job because we want the project to finish in 2015 with a modernized bridge," Mr. Chang concluded.

Also speaking to this paper in an exclusive interview, an Engineer and spokesman of Chinese Henan International Company (CHICO), Armah G. Massaquoi said some Liberians who are seeking contracts with CHICO, are faced with the salary structure because the Chinese people do not know the labor structure in the country.

Mr. Massaquoi explained that there is a need that Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labor shoulder its social responsibility and educate the Chinese Henan International Company (CHICO) on the salary structures because the company pays unskilled and skillful workers the same amount which isL$300, 00 per day.

"My brother, let me tell you that some Liberian contractors went away this morning due to low payment of L$300, 00 per day; there is no lunch for them," Mr. Massaquoi noted.

Mr. Massaquoi said that the Chinese alone cannot do the bridge construction work without the help of Liberian contractors therefore there should be increase in salary to motivate the Liberian contractors.

"On many occasions I advised the Management of Chinese Henan International Company (CHICO) to pay good salary to Liberian contractors but they refused to listen to me," Mr. Massaquoi said.

Mr. Massaquoi added that if the Government of Liberia wants the Caldwell Bridge construction project to continue, attractive salaries must be paid to motivate the Liberian contractors to become committed on the job.

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