Thursday 17 June 2010

Chinese Construction Workers Again Stranded in Warsaw

A group of 21 Chinese construction workers have ended up camped outside the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw. They have no money to return home and are waiting for help.

The workers were hired by a company called Turret Development. Turret Development is owned by American businessman Michael Alter, president of the Alter Group, one of the ten largest commercial real estate developers in the United States. Alter has been investing in real estate in Poland and using cheap Asian labour for this work.

Currently we are investigating the situation with these workers. One thing is clear: they were hired by Turret Development to work on the Wola Tower construction site. After that, they were sent by Turret to work in Lodz and in Olawa.

It is totally unclear how Turret sent these people to work in these cities where it has no construction projects. But as it turns out, Michael Alter is the president of no fewer than 15(!) companies registered in Poland. It also appears that most of these companies are special purpose vehicles, not real businesses. Members of ZSP now will be investigating this situation and trying to determine who were actually heading the construction projects these people were working on.

Turret Development at one point decided that they no longer desired the services of the workers and let them go. Since they didn't want to return to China, the local director of Turret decided to inform the Border Police and asked them to deport the workers. The local director's story contradicts the Chinese workers': he claims that the workers found other jobs and just didn't show up for work.

After the people lost their jobs at Turret, some of them went on to work in other places. This group of workers went to work in a meat factory in Poznan. But the border police made problems for them so the owner fired them. They are left without money for the plane ticket home. This is also partially because of the fact that much of the money they did earn in Poland went to pay off a Chinese agent who took an enormous amount of money for them to arrange these jobs in Poland.