Nalcor Energy has directed the main contractor at Muskrat Falls to stop working on the site, and is arranging for Astaldi’s 500 workers in Labrador to return home.
In an emailed statement, Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall said Nalcor has been “closely monitoring” Astaldi’s financial situation.
“Given Astaldi’s inability to continue to pay its workers, Nalcor has directed Astaldi to stop work,” Marshall said.
Work is focused on ensuring we meet the critical path for first power as planned in 2019.– Stan Marshall
“We are taking this action to minimize the financial harm placed upon the workers by Astaldi.”
Marshall said Nalcor’s immediate priority is to “make arrangements for Astaldi’s approximately 500 workers living at the Muskrat Falls site in Labrador to return home in a safe and orderly fashion.”
According to Marshall, Astaldi’s surety has directed payment of funds to the Resource Development Trades Council (RDTC), in relation to the contractor’s obligations to the workers’ pensions and benefits plan.
‘Challenging situation’ for workers
On Wednesday, CBC News reported that the RDTC — the umbrella group for 16 local trades unions working on the hydro megaproject — filed a $7.8 million lawsuit against Astaldi and Nalcor over unpaid remittances to those plans.
“We understand this is a challenging situation for workers and will continue to work with the RDTC to address their outstanding concerns,” Marshall said.
According to Marshall, Nalcor recently notified Astaldi that all of the funds the contractor is currently eligible to earn under its contracts have been paid.
“Today’s action will not have any impact to the ongoing work activities of the other contractors and workers on site and their work will continue as planned,” Marshall said.
“Work is focused on ensuring we meet the critical path for first power as planned in 2019.”
Nalcor and Astaldi have been at legal and financial loggerheads over contract issues.
Astaldi wants more cash for its work on Muskrat Falls, and is facing tens of millions in lien claims from suppliers and trades unions over unpaid bills.
Nalcor has insisted those debts are the responsibility of the contractor.
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