The outlaw ocean – human trafficking and other crimes, part 3

Ian Urbina, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, spent years researching the abuses in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry. In the above video, he visits a detention centre in Indonesia where he meets with (mostly Vietnamese) men who had been detained when their fishing vessels were arrested in Indonesian waters. Bring only fishing crew,...

The outlaw ocean – human trafficking and other crimes, part 2

Abuses aboard fishing vessels in Southeast Asian waters would be a shock and disgrace to our countries if not for their being largely “out of sight” and “out of mind”. There is deception in recruitment, inhuman conditions of work, uncertainties over salary and the inability to leave the trawlers even when workers have had enough....

How some employers cheat both the government and workers

In June a year ago, we wrote about the Everglory scam. It’s not confined to Everglory Construction Pte Ltd but is in fact quite a common scam. Since the first cases emerged in early 2018, Transient Workers Count Too has seen a new case every few days. The earlier article described how the scam works....

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...