When court orders are worthless: the Zach Engineering case

Longform by Gautam Joseph with contribution by Choo Wai Hong  Timeline Dec 2014 Two workers at Zach Engineering summarily dismissed after employer has disagreement with Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Mar – Jun 2015 Two workers rehired by Zach Engineering, three other Bangladeshi workers join. Oct 2015 Fifteen workers paid only food allowance. Indian workers fight...

Jaynal lost his case at ECT; was the tribunal’s decision sound?

On 19 October 2017, Abedin Md Jaynal spent virtually the whole day in the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) arguing his case. By the close of the day, it was over, and he had lost. The magistrate dismissed his salary claim. Jaynal told TWC2 that the magistrate was actually sympathetic to his side of the case,...

48 Nihal workers left high and dry, and MOM’s ‘softly, softly’ role

None of the workers has gotten any real satisfaction. Nada. Worse yet, it was hardly an unusual case; it’s becoming all too common for migrant workers to be left high and dry after their employers fail to pay the agreed salaries and the Ministry of Manpower’s dispute resolution system either grinds too slowly, or grinds...

How our volunteers put injured workers on the road to recovery

By Cheong Kwok Wy Enshrined in the constitution of the World Health Organisation, the notion of basic healthcare is widely regarded as a fundamental right for every human being. By and large, Singapore does provide that right to every transient worker that comes here, such as through mandatory health insurance. Our Work Injury Compensation Act...

Sarkar Robel finds his salary in a time warp

The main part of this story is based on an interview in November 2017, when the outcome was hard to predict. The postscript was written in April 2018 after the case had concluded.   The narrative hinges on dates. As you read it, pay close attention to the dates. On Thursday, 16 November 2017, Sarker Md...

“Excuse me, can we talk to you a little bit?”

Photographs by Nguyen Phi Yen, from an evening in April 2018 Every weekday evening, volunteers with Transient Workers Count Too are there on the streets in front of our meal stations. It’s warm and humid, but we’re there because we want to make it easy for foreign workers to approach us if they need help....

Foreign workforce numbers, 2017

The number of Work Permit holders in the construction sector declined by nearly 10% between end-2016 and end-2017, latest figures on foreign workforce numbers show. There were 284,900 construction Work Permit holders end-2017 compared to 315,500 of them end-2016. It’s a reduction of over 30,000. This mirrors the 8.4% contraction in construction industry GDP in...

Bumpy ride for Alaguraja as employer goes doctor-shopping

By Alston Ng, based on an interview in March 2018 It has been 18 years since Ganapathi Alaguraja first arrived in Singapore as a foreign worker, but his impeccable record of accident-free workdays came to an end when a spinning drill-bit crushed a finger on 1 March. Despite the years of experience living and working...

MOM says Singapore’s workplace injury reporting criteria are “aligned to international practices”

Member of Parliament Louis Ng put in an oral question for oral answer on 19 February 2018, on the topic of injury reporting. Sam Tan, the Minister of State for Manpower replied on behalf of the minister. Nominated Member of Parliament K Thanaletchimi also contributed a supplementary question during the debate. See too TWC2’s comment...

Do MOM’s injury statistics hide more than they reveal?

A TWC2 research volunteer recently unearthed some interesting statistics regarding workplace injuries in the construction industry. Compared to other industrialised nations, the ratio of construction injury to overall injury rate and the ratio of construction injuries to fatalities is relatively low in Singapore. In the construction sector, the ratio of injuries to fatalities was 82:1 for Singapore in 2015. This...