Having signed and thumbprinted his salary payment vouchers, Senthilkumar faced an uphill task proving his claim

Senthilkumar’s salary claim didn’t end well for him. It went all the way to the Employment Claims Tribunal which found against him on 1 March 2019. In a nutshell, his claim was that the payment vouchers he was asked to sign (and add his thumbprint to) had amounts that didn’t match the cash in the...

Seven months, thirteen extensions, no progress

By Avijit B, based on an interview in March 2019 Gafur has had a turbulent time since the day he arrived in Singapore. In the space of seven months, he went from the hope of steady work abroad to the frustration of being stuck without work and pay. Borrowing money from relatives to pay for...

27% fewer foreign worker claims at ECT in 2018 compared to 2017, why?

On 6 March 2019, Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong asked the Minister of Manpower to supply figures for 2017 and 2018 respectively regarding … (a) how many salary claims were filed by (i) local employees and (ii) foreign workers at the Employment Claims Tribunal; (b) how many court orders were issued to errant employers...

Rights don’t mean squat without accessible avenues of redress

The photo is of an illuminated billboard along Bukit Batok West Avenue 3. It seeks to inform workers of their employment rights, and is sponsored by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) the Central Provident Fund and TAFEP (Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices). The smaller words in the poster say: Get paid for...

Despite accident and filing an injury claim, Ayub stays in his job

By Darrell Foo, based on an interview in November 2018 Jennah Ayub Hossain registered at our Cuff Road Project in September 2018, but even so, he didn’t often come to get his free meals. On one of the few occasions when he showed up, I seize the opportunity to ask him why. “Very far coming,”...

MOM claims great effectiveness in a case when the facts point otherwise

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) responded to our 20 Feb 2019 article ‘Rahman and employer agree to settle salary claim… then nothing happens‘ with a statement on their website. That statement amplifies their ability to help, and implicitly accuses the worker of not seeking help when help was (said to be) available. The worker’s misery...

Global Compact for Migration: how far off its standards is Singapore?

The United Nations’ Global Compact for Migration (GCM) was adopted by a great majority of UN members on 10 December 2018 at a conference in Marrakech, Morocco. It was endorsed by the General Assembly on 19 December 2018, where 152 countries voted in favour. Five countries voted against — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, and...

Forced repatriation still happens — Bala’s story

On this website, we used to carry a number of stories from workers who were lucky enough to escape forced repatriation. But that was several years ago. In the last 3 or 4 years, TWC2 received far fewer such cases. This reduction in cases could mean that attempts at forced repatriation declined, thus resulting in...

Boss agrees he didn’t pay salary… and then continues not to pay

By Ada Cheong, based on interviews in October 2018 Ten thousand dollars sounds like a hyperbolic sum of money. But that’s how much is owed to Alam and Mintu respectively, for a year’s backbreaking work. “Boss say ah, ‘Now (in my) pocket, money have. I no give (you), I (as) punishment no give,’” Mintu relates...

How two bosses reacted to their workers filing salary claims

The same evening that volunteer Liang Lei was doing interviews for his story Why do injured workers flee company housing and do they feel safe enough to return?, two other workers came to TWC2 with housing-related woes. But their stories also shine a light on the way employers try to bully workers into submission. Borhan...