Raiful paid $8,000, job didn’t exist. Initial attempt to lodge complaint rebuffed

By Troy Lee based on an interview in July 2017 In the early hours of Friday, 7 July 2017, Md Raiful Islam touched down at Changi airport, looking forward to start on a new job. By midday, he was devastated. The job did not exist. He had paid about 465,000 Bangladeshi taka (about S$8,000) for...

“Agree to lower salary, or you won’t get your pay,” says company manager

By Wahid Al Mamun based on an interview late July 2017 A lot of things can happen in two months, and Mollah Showrov has learned this the hard way. His right leg is now in held immobile in an orthopaedic boot. I notice how gingerly he seats himself in the plastic chair beside me. Here...

Employer proclaims he lied to ministry, then gets away with paying less in salary

Transient Workers Count Too came across a very interesting statement by Mr Tan Khim Long, director of KBC Engineering Pte Ltd. The company was defending a salary claim by a former employee, a Bangladeshi named Showkat, for short-payment of salary. The case was heard by the Manpower Ministry’s Labour Court in late 2016 and early...

Records of accidents are such a nuisance, aren’t they?

By Namgay Choden, based on an interview in July 2017 With me this evening is Howlader Mohammod Selim, and he tells me about what happened in September 2016. Selim had suffered an accident at work, and was brought to Ng Teng Fong Hospital in Jurong East. After treatment, the doctor asked Selim whether he needed...

Harri men go home, not everything resolved

On 23 June 2017, we put up a post on Facebook that said: This is Jafar Ahmmad. He came in 2014 to work for Harri Engineering. His boss, Nallusamy Narayanan accused him and other workers of taking their pay and not showing up for work. As it turns out, his boss was later jailed for...

A leap of faith goes four metres down

By Liang Lei, based on an interview in June 2017 What would you do if you think that your job constitutes a breach of safety regulations? For foreign workers, even having a choice of action is regrettably often a luxury. The consequence of disobeying supervisors’ orders, however unsafe, can be the sack. As a result, many...

Wage theft as it happens

There are many stories on this website about employers arbitrarily reducing migrant workers’ salaries soon after the latter have started on their jobs. Employers and their agents promise certain terms of employment while the worker is still in his home country, but once the worker has arrived in Singapore, salaries are lowered and deductions increased. Sometimes, the...

A profile: Amin stays positive despite setbacks

By Jonah Foong, based on an interview in June 2017 Across the world, foreign labour is often cheap, and their working conditions abysmal. Tales of starving, overworked, and unpaid workers are not unheard of – a simple google search will turn up stories of ‘modern slavery’ in places like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Over here...

Alam’s one angry, kicking rooster

By Beh Jing Yi, based on an interview in June 2017 It has been five months since Alam Md Khorshed received any medical leave wages from his employer. He estimates he is owed about $3,900. He has approached the Ministry of Manpower for help over this, he says, and meetings with his employer have been organised....

After ten days in hospital, company tries to rush Mazharul onto a plane

By Janson Chang, based on an interview in June 2017 Throughout most of our conversation Islam Mazharul does not sit easy.  The two friends who accompany him do more than half the telling, during which Mazahrul does not seem to be tuning in to it himself.  It seems like he is miles away.  His nervous...