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Chinese companies haven’t paid Laos workers for over 6 years

Vientiane, Laos

Laos workers who were hired by Chinese companies for construction projects, undertaken six years ago are still waiting for their payments.

These workers were hired to build homes for villagers displaced by the construction of a China-backed dam, Radio Free Asia reported.

“The wages of workers who built the resettlement villages in the Nalae district of Luang Namtha province in 2015 have still not been paid. And compensation to the villagers who lost land, crops, and other property to the dam project has not been paid either,” Vice President of Lao Front for National Construction, Khamchanh Phomsengsavanh informed.

Dam developer The Namtha 1 Power Company hired two subcontractors, the Sengphet Company and Soakxay Company, in 2015 to build eleven resettlement villages — including homes, health centres, offices, roads, and schools for the people displaced by the dam.

“I built a health centre five years ago, and I still haven’t gotten paid,” a worker informed Radio Free Asia.

His employer had said he would pay him three million kips (USD 300) for the work, but allegedly “just ran away.”

“Most of us never got paid, and those who did get paid never got the full amount. We worked hard. The company still owes us,” another worker said.

Besides, sources informed Radio Free Asia that the living conditions of Lao villagers displaced by the Chinese dam have also remained difficult.

Meanwhile, weeks before the opening of China’s bullet train project in Laos, villagers who lost land to the project are also irked over delays in compensation from Chinese companies.

Under Lao Decree 84, issued in April 2016, people who lose land to development projects must be compensated for lost income, property, crops, and plants and project owners are required to guarantee that living conditions for those displaced will be as good as, or better than, they were before the project was started, Radio Free Asia reported.

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