The Unchecked Abuse of Laborers on Building Sites.
The Unchecked Abuse, Intimidation And Harrassment of Laborers on Building Sites.
Let me narrate an experience I recently witnessed with hope that I would read other people's opinion on the permissibility and frequency of such occurances. I don't know if mine is just too abstract.
The site in question will be the third building project site where I've had this abusive experience, and in all three occasions we've been 'lucky' to not be around.
I used the word 'lucky' because there is a possibility that we would be physically assaulted if we were'nt. Nobody knows.
The fact in this case is that our building site is small and tiny with a width of 10.9m, a building that takes up 8.2m of this width, a 6.0m setback in front, and a unique site location. This limitation has unfortunately always caused us crises in the areas of storage and material delivery spaces.
These are spaces (the portion where you drop your loads of aggregates, boards, bamboo, other timber specs, blocks, reinforcement bars, etc, before use) that most architects do not consider critical or make provision for during design and planning.
Many do not even realize that the inadequacy of these spaces, or lack thereof, must always affect negatively, all other activity on site.
This lack of space was the main reason why we had to resort to offloading all materials, with the exception of cement along the road (the area is reasonably secured).
In doing this also, we'd make sure at all times that there was enough space for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Now, two days ago, after about a month's work, we recieved a notice from the Local Government sealing off this our project site, ordering that we stop work, and proposing a fine for obstruction. According to them, any contractor who wishes to dump his materials on the road must get approval.
This act, however unnecessary in our view, was understandable and didn't pose a problem to us even though the road was pretty much inaccessible until we filled it with debris from a nearby demolition.
What we did not understand however, is this;
Yesterday, barely 18hours after the notice was served, a police van carrying men of the police force arrived our site, they requested to see those in charge and upon being unsuccessful, arrested, took away and detained on the condition of staff superiority, the only mason available on site at that time.
- Why would the authorities arrest and detain an employee who has absolutely no knowledge of the arrangements made for site utility spaces?
- Why the haste? It was barely 18hours.
- Why would this same 'law enforcement' agency upon 'settlement of the said fine, close their eyes and allow for further dumping of materials along that same road? Has the obstruction siezed to exist?
- Is there no other civil way of enforcing needed compliance with directives that wouldn't involve harrassing and intimidating innocent defenseless laborers; people who'd only come to fend for their families?
- Recall our topic: Dealing with Harrassment on Site.