Paper laws and how workers’ wages are stolen

Proving a salary claim requires evidence. So we ask our interviewees whether they were paid in cash or through their bank accounts. Bank transfers create an audit trail that will prove how much employers paid (or didn’t pay), whereas cash leaves no trail at all and thus disadvantages the worker in his claim. Ripon was...

Transfer was a sham, settlement agreement was dubious, only the paddyfield was real

By Yasha S based on an interview in January 2019 For 47-year old labourer Motaleb Abdul, seeking justice for what he is owed seems like a never-ending game of disappointment. Despite having a salary settlement agreement drawn by Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), he has yet to be paid by his Singaporean boss —...

Ask the insurance company

Most injured workers who seek help from TWC2 have engaged a law firm to assist with their injury claim.  Although legal assistance is not necessary for the no-fault work injury compensation (WIC) process at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), many workers feel more secure having an injury lawyer.  Perhaps the worker is unsure how to...

Employer unafraid of workers taking salary claims to the authorities

By L. Narasimhan based on an interview in March 2019 “I wander around the city, going from place to place trying to find a new job,” says Sukhwinder Singh, when I ask him what he has been doing for the past three months. “I wake up in my apartment, eat at Gurudwara [temple], and then go...

Rubel started work with Feiteng1x without knowing his salary — how did that happen?

By Liang lei based on an interview in February 2019 When a foreign worker arrives in Singapore, he would have a letter titled In-Principle Approval for a Work Permit (IPA) from Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), stating his personal details, employer and salary, amongst other details. The IPA letter has proven invaluable in guarding foreign...

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...

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...