For a few years now, Transient Workers Count Too has been asked to give a talk to journalists gathered at the annual Asia Journalism Fellowship. The following videos are adapted from the talk that Alex Au gave on 8 September 2016. There were about 20 journalists in TWC2’s Dayspace, from various Asian countries, Pakistan to China.
Part 1 sets out the theme of the talk and explains a few basic facts about the regulation of migrant labour in Singapore:
Part 2 describes a few of the most common abuses that occur at the recruitment stage, and trace them back to process design; more accurately, to how the regulatory process leaves huge gaps for private actors to exploit.
For an example of how much a worker paid to obtain his jobs in Singapore, and how his fees compared to the offered salaries, see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmuX0UUq5Jk
Part 3 discusses the reality faced by workers with respect to salary payments. Clearly, the “nuclear option” given by the regulatory authorities to employers — to terminate a worker at any time and repatriate him — completely annihilates what bargaining power migrant workers might hope to have.
Part 4 touches on the main problems encountered in the work injury compensation process.
Part 5 focusses on the Labour Court and the huge disadvantages the foreign workers face.
Part 6 begins with a general summing up, leading on to a discussion about the difficulties journalists may face in trying to cover this subject:
TWC2 wishes to thank the organisers of the Asia Journalism Fellowship for the opportunity to present this issue to its fellows.