Builder waits to be paid a year after finishing Archway job

Emil Iliev

Emil Iliev - Credit: Archant

Bulgarian workers ‘exploited’ by mystery sub-contractors

A Bulgarian builder who worked for two weeks flat-out to pay for his family’s Christmas presents is still waiting to be paid nearly a year later.

Hard-working Emil Iliev, 44, took on a 14-day stretch helping to fix up a house in Bickerton Road, Archway, last December and was owed £700 for the work – enough to buy presents for his daughter Elena and give his wife Ani a nice Christmas.

But once he finished the work he and the other 30 workers on the site were told they wouldn’t be paid.


The company who commissioned the work, Circle 33, have put pressure on Mulalley and Co, the contractors, to sort out Mr Iliev’s payment.

But Mulalley claim it also sub-contracted the work – but refuse to say who to, leaving Mr Iliev with nowhere to turn. He said: “I got the job through a website which advertises for Bulgarian workers.

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“Along with about 30 other Bulgarians we went to an office in Finsbury Park, which had a Mulalley and Co sign outside, and were taken to the site in Bickerton Road.

“I worked for two weeks non-stop and when the job was finished the site manager said we would get paid the following week. Then it was the week after and the week after. Finally he admitted we weren’t going to get paid.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was just before Christmas and it caused big problems. It was very hard to do Christmas and New Year with no money. I couldn’t buy presents for my wife or daughter.”

Mr Iliev and his family have been in the UK for two years and he says they love living here because the people are so friendly, but they feel exploited by this experience. He said: “I can’t understand why this has happened.

“I suppose they use Bulgarians because we’re cheaper, but as far as I know none of the others have been paid either and now it is a year later.

“Someone needs to take responsibility.


“I went back to the office but no one was there and now Mulalley say it wasn’t up to them. But they sent people to the site. They need to take responsibility. If it’s not them, who is it?”

Neil Brown, managing director of Circle 33, said: “We sympathise with Mr Iliev: it is absolutely unacceptable if his employer has not paid him.

“Circle 33 has contacted Mulalley, asking them to make every effort to ensure that this issue is resolved through them and their sub-contractor.”

Despite repeated calls from the Gazette, Mulalley and Co declined to comment.