Tram workers, subcontractors protest for back pay on Wednesday
More than 180 tranvia workers and subcontractors on Cuenca’s tram project gathered at the offices of the Consortium Four Rivers of Cuenca (CCRC) demanding back pay. Protesters briefly blocked the intersection at Gran Colombia and Unidad Nacioanl, where CCRC offices are located.
A representative for the protesters claims CCRC owes workers and subcontractors between $350,000 and $400,000 for the two-week period before CCRC stopped work on the tram in a still-unresolved contract dispute with the city of Cuenca. The city assumed project management on October 17 following several days of work stoppage.
The city paid a small portion of the debt when it took over the project and has covered the cost of labor and materials since then.
CCRC attorneys asked the workers to “respect the public peace” while it tries to resolve differences with the city. “We understand the frustration of those who have not been paid but we ask for patience as we try to resolve the conflict,” a statement from CCRC said.
Jose Luis Campoverde, a spokeman for workers and subcontractor claims CCRE has flatly refused to make back payments. “We have tried to mediate the issue and have provided time sheets and invoices but they are not responding to us,” he says. “Until they do, we will continue the protest,” he added. Campoverde said the dispute is solely with CCRE, not with the city.
CCRC is a Spanish public company hired four years ago to manage travia construction. In its dispute with the city, CCRC claims uncompensated changes to the original contract led to the dispute. City says is has offered to pay for the changes.