An official of a Nadi-based joinery company has confirmed reports that its employees have been unpaid for just over two months, but it is making every effort to do so.
The official, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed that staff had already received 50 per cent of their owing salaries.
Workers of Green Oak Holdings Limited based in Votualevu, Nadi, walked off the job and staged a sit-down outside the company office yesterday to raise their grievances.
“We are trying to collect money from our suppliers before the full payment is made,” said the company official yesterday.
“They will be paid and we are just asking them to be patient with us. The directive to make the payment will come from the directors,” he said.
“Right now we wish not make any further comments because the matter is before the Labour Ministry.”
Workers spoke to the Fiji Sun yesterday to relate the problems they faced in the wake of the issue.
43-year-old Sanjay Kumar, who joined his colleagues outside the company office, said for the past two months he had been borrowing money from neighbours and relatives in order to provide for his family.
“I have three children and they are still in school. It’s been hard for me and my family over the two months because we have no money to survive,” he said.
“I had to borrow money from neighbours and friends. This is embarrassing, but I’ve got no choice.”
Mr Kumar said he had worked for the joinery works company for more than a year now and that he received $400 fortnightly.
“I am having sleepless nights because I get worried about my family, especially where to get the money from to buy food and pay for my children’s expenses,” he said.
“We are requesting Government to step in and help us resolve this issue.
“The $400 might not be big money for wealthy people, but for us struggling for our lives this is the only means we have to provide for our family.”
Another employee, 32-year-old Nilesh Manoj Kumar, said he had worked for the company for three years.
“They stopped paying our salary in April without any reason at all. Since April we have been coming to work using our $50 eTicketing given from Government. We decided to stop working last week because we weren’t paid,” he said.
“A lot of us have taken things on hire purchase, bank loans and even bought cars. How are we going to pay all these without our salary?”
Mr Kumar said they have raised their concerns with the Ministry for Employment.
Attempts to get comments from the Minister for Employment, Jone Usamate, were unsuccessful when this edition went to press.