Pay disputes and worker rights are one of the thorniest issues to tackle within the workplace, and all too often, it's the employee who ends up getting the short end of the stick. This is when protest comes in to play, whether it's an organised event by a union or an individual taking on the system. But not all forms of protest are peaceful.
One builder recently mounted the steps of a Liverpool hotel with a digger, smashing through the doors of the new Travelodge hotel, where he brought about more carnage on the reception inside. The footage shows the driver ignoring all pleas to stop as he goes on the rampage which, according to sources close to the incident, was over a pay dispute.
One witness, 24-year-old ceiling fixer Samuel White, claimed that the driver was in the middle of a dispute over £600 owed by the contractors of the hotel, which is under construction. While the claims were not independently verified, you can hear a voice in the footage say, “That’s what happens when people don’t pay their wages.”
According to White, it was the final day of the construction when the man in the digger came to the scene. "The handover was today. Everything completed, we'd put the last tile in, cleaned up and made sure everything was perfect," he said, according to the Guardian. "Then some idiot in a mini digger decided to drive through the middle of the building."
"There were loads of workers outside all gobsmacked, jaws to the floor wondering what's going on," said Mr White, who claimed the destruction went on for around "20 or 30 minutes" before the driver left the vehicle and fled the scene. "The site manager was running around like a headless chicken, he wasn't happy at all," he added.
Police arrived at the hotel, located at Liverpool Innovation Park, but by then the driver had already gone, leaving behind a pile of rubble in his wake. Merseyside Police released a statement on the incident on Monday evening, which read:
“One man experienced eye irritation due to exposure to diesel and was treated at the scene by North West ambulance service. It is not believed anyone else was injured during the incident. Merseyside fire and rescue services and contractors attended to ensure the site was safe.”
Here's a look at what happened from inside:
Since the incident has gone viral, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay the "unpaid wages" involved, soon reaching its £600 target within just hours of being posted. Jack Wellon, the man who launched the online campaign said: "This is a contractor versus worker situation and guess who usually comes out on top with huge payouts and the worker going short? Not this time."
Travelodge claimed that as the site had not yet been handed over to them, it remained the responsibility of the developer. A police investigation is underway.