Relieved sub-contractors on Mainzeal's liquidated Victoria University building project were able to reclaim their tools from the Kelburn Parade building site this morning.
Among them were 32-year old Paraparaumu based carpenter Jay Sandilands and 41-year-old carpenter from Upper Hutt, Grant Webber.
Both men stood round for about an hour before their employer, Key Skills Recruitment director Ailsa McGavin, managed to negotiate their way in to the upper floors of the Rankine Brown building where their tools had been stashed since Tuesday afternoon.
A frustrated Sandilands was happy to eventually be able to wheel his $2000 worth of tools out of the building.
"This is the first time I've been bitten by one of the big boys. It makes a change. I've been burnt a few times by little guys I've worked with," Sandilands said.
He needed his tools before he could begin looking for a new job.
"I have not started looking for a new job yet. I don't know of any jobs where they'll take you on without tools. I don't know of any jobs where you can just stand there for the day and do nothing," Sandilands said.
His Key Skills Recruitment colleague, Webber, had landed a jibbing job at Kelburn Normal School today and was waiting for his tools so he could begin work as soon as possible at the school today.
Both men said playing the waiting game to get their tools had been frustrating.
Among the other tradesmen on site this morning to collect their tools were Rob Andrews and Scott Reece.
McGavin discovered the hard way this morning that life is not easy for the employer of a contracted workforce caught up in a liquidation.
"I almost had a heart attack climbing nine flights of stairs (in the Rankine Brown building) because the lifts were not working. Fortunately they got them working so we could get the tools back down," McGavin said.
Meanwhile subcontractors throughout the country on Mainzeal jobs, some owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, fear the worst that they could lose the lot in the collapse.
Mainzeal's receiver has confirmed that subcontractors owed money from before the collapse will need to make a claim for their money.
Thomas Plumbing and Gas owner Harold Thomas, of Kapiti, said he had not been paid since December for work on the Coastlands Aquatic Centre in Paraparaumu. He was told by the receiver that it was working on the basis that there was no money left for unsecured creditors, such as subcontractors.
"When I hear things like Jenny Shipley and all these people that were directors of this company resigned the night before - that really gets up my craw," he said.
- The Dominion Post