68% of construction workers work illegally long hours

Over two-thirds (68%) of foreign construction workers work so much overtime that their total monthly overtime hours would breach the legal maximum of 72 overtime hours a month. Of these, one in three (23%) worked twelve and a half hours or more in a single day — which also violates the legal daily maximum of 12...

Foreign workforce numbers 2012 – 2016

For easy reference in future, we carry below the statistics relating to employed expatriates/workers for the years 2012 to 2016, extracted from the Ministry of Manpower website on 24 Feb 2017. Equivalent data for the years 2007 to 2012 can be seen at this page. Percentage-wise, these are the figures: The next table shows quite...

One quarter of Labour Court salary orders unpaid

At the parliamentary sitting of 9 January 2017, Nominated Member of Parliament Kok Heng Leun posed a question to the Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say (pictured above). As published in the Hansard, Labour Court Orders on Employee Salary Non-payment Mr Kok Heng Leun asked the Minister for Manpower (a) how many complaints about salary non-payment...

Average recruitment cost hit $15,000 in 2015 for first-time Bangladeshi construction workers

After hearing anecdotal reports of ‘agent fees’ in the region of $17,000 or $18,000, Transient Workers Count Two carried out a pilot survey to determine if these were rare cases, or if recruitment costs have risen dramatically. An earlier research report published in 2012, Worse off for working? found that Bangladeshi workers needed to work...

Was there no prosecution in 2016 for non-payment of salaries?

As 2016 came to a close, TWC2 trawled through the website of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to see what prosecutions have been listed there through the year. MOM issues press releases whenever an employer has been sentenced in court. TWC2 found twelve mentions in MOM’s website through 2016. The list is shown further down. What...

TWC2 survey: starting salaries for migrant workers flatlined for the last 10 years

Starting basic salaries for first-time workers from India and Bangladesh have remained more or less static since 2006, averaging slightly under Singapore dollars 600 per month. However, when adjusted for inflation, a downward trend is seen, and thus, in terms of Singapore purchasing power, average basic salaries have declined about 20% since 2006. The above...

‘This is so real’: Reflections on 32 months with The Cuff Road Project

By Shona Loong It is Saturday, 17 September 2016: Tito is in tears. He is being sent home after just six months in Singapore. His boss has bought him a plane ticket for this evening. This is already an extension of sorts: three days ago, his work-permit was cancelled and he was made to board...

Reflections: Wica and Labour Court processes

Most interns who spend 6 – 9 weeks with TWC2 are asked to wrap up their internship with an essay on a specific topic. Law student Pranay Arvind Suryavanshi spent his mid-year vacation 2016 with us assisting with casework and the Labour Court Research Project. In the process, he came across many foreign workers who...

Reflections: Salary issues faced by migrant workers

Most interns who spend 6 – 9 weeks with TWC2 are asked to wrap up their internship with an essay on a specific topic. Rebecca spent her mid-year vacation 2016 with us assisting with casework and the Labour Court Research Project. In the process, she came across many foreign workers who had suffered salary non-payment or...

The price of a job

TWC2’s latest research takes a detailed look at recruitment costs borne by female domestic workers in Singapore. Based on a survey of 232 workers conducted in early 2016, the study reveals how much they paid, to whom, and how many months’ of salary deductions these payments represented. It also gathered their opinions as to what...