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Some Mainzeal sub-contractors get tools back

Friday 8 Feb 2013 4:42 p.m.

An anxious two days came to an end today for some of Mainzeal's sub-contractors – Wellington construction workers were allowed to collect tools which were locked inside a Mainzeal building site.

Contractor Brad Ryder says the mood was still sombre.

“We're all good. A lot of sad faces though, a lot of broken boys in there,” he says.

They had just one hour to collect their equipment.

“We didn't know how long they were going to be tied up for but obviously they have seen sense and we can have our tools and get on with our lives, yeah,” says another contractor, Bruce Rice.

Even when they get their tools back, many contractors will still be out of pocket, some for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Parent company Mainzeal Group is still operating but its director Richard Yan is nowhere to be seen – not at headquarters, nor his Epsom home.

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) believes Mainzeal has exploited sub-contractors and wants the law changed to provide more protection for them.

“If those workers had been employees they would have been protected up to the first $20,000 of wages and holiday pay and other payments owing,” says CTU president Helen Kelly. “Under the receivership law they get priority over the banks.”

Also facing an uncertain future are the owners of apartments at Hobson Gardens. It's a leaky building that was being repaired by Mainzeal.

“It's already cost us tens of thousands of dollars for the legal side and then we were reaching somewhere near $300,000, there was light at the end of the tunnel, and now back to the beginning again,” says apartment owner Raja Sharma.

The receivers may decide to continue the work.

If work doesn't continue the owners will have to look at their options. That could include legal action against the council for approving the original plans, but that would take more time and cost more money.

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