‘Wage dispute’ worker wrecks hotel in digger rampage

‘Wage dispute’ worker wrecks hotel in digger rampage
AP via CNN
A view showing the damage caused when a mechanical digger was driven through the front of the Travelodge hotel on Edge Lane in Liverpool, England, on Jan. 21, 2019. Video footage of the incident which has gone viral online shows the vehicle repeatedly smashing through the reception of the hotel, which is under construction and was set to be completed on Monday.

A construction worker used a mechanical digger to wreck the lobby of a new hotel in Liverpool, UK, in an apparent dispute over unpaid wages.

Video footage of the incident, which has since gone viral, shows the vehicle climbing a short flight of stairs before smashing the glass doors at the building’s entrance.

The driver then uses the digger bucket to smash fixtures inside the lobby, as another construction worker bangs on the side of the machine in what looks like an attempt to end the rampage.

The incident is believed to stem from a dispute over wages, according to Michael Parkinson, managing director of Triton Construction, the main contractor at the site.

Parkinson said the driver, who was working for MF Construction, the groundwork contractor for the project, had told other workers his pay was overdue.

“It is alleged that the laborer couldn’t track down the owner of MF Construction and he became increasingly frustrated,” Parkinson said in a statement.

“The laborer took it upon himself to drive a small mini excavator through the entrance screen of the hotel and subsequently caused damage to finishes within the reception,” he added.

CNN has attempted to contact MF Construction for comment.

Parkinson said there was not thought to be any major structural damage to the building, and that repairs would be made relatively quickly.

A GoFundMe page purporting to raise funds for the digger driver had raised almost £3,000 ($3,875) at the time of writing, as well as receiving many messages of support.

“People can only be pushed so far, and then they snap,” wrote David Hopkins. “Having been in a similar situation myself, this impacts on your mental health to such an extent that you lose all hope and at that moment are capable of anything.”

Others were less impressed by the driver’s wrecking spree, however.

“The handover was today, everything completed, we’d put the last tile in, cleaned up and made sure everything was perfect,” ceiling fixer Samuel White, 24, told the UK’s Press Association. “Then some idiot in a mini digger decided to drive through the middle of the building.”

Merseyside Police have issued an appeal for information into the incident, which happened at the Travelodge in Liverpool Innovation Park at about 3pm local time (10am ET) on Monday. They say the driver fled the scene on foot.

Emergency services attended the scene and treated one man for eye irritation due to exposure to diesel, according to the police statement; no-one else was injured.

Travelodge is a chain of budget hotels that operates hundreds of properties across the UK, Spain and Ireland.

A spokesperson for the company refused to comment on the matter as it is subject to a live police investigation, but said the property had yet to be handed over and remained in the hands of the developer, Valedown Ltd.

Valedown told CNN in a statement: “As landlord of Liverpool Innovation Park, we were made aware yesterday of the alleged incident.

“And following on from Triton Construction’s statement issued earlier today, given that this matter is now under police investigation, we wish to make no further comment at this time.”