Mithun’s first 20 minutes with TWC2

By Zhan Nanxin, from an evening in March 2018 Like many other first timers, Sheikh Mohammad Mithun comes to Transient Workers Count Too’s Dayspace in Little India unsure of what to expect, hoping for advice and help. What catches our eye is the large bag of medication in his left hand. That’s quite unusual. He...

Rashadul goes home with only pocket change

Based on an interview in April 2018 Despite giving us a broad smile, Rashadul’s life has changed for the worse. For example, his broken knee means he will never be able to squat again. The best he can do now is to kneel on his one good knee, which at least is good enough to...

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...