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...

Contract substitution made easier by ministry?

Over the years, Transient Workers Count Too has seen many cases where, after arriving in Singapore to start on their jobs, migrant workers are told by their bosses that the salary stated on the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter will not be honoured. Instead they are given the choice of accepting a lower salary, or be sent...

Noor worked nine months; never paid his proper salary

By Marcus Chee, based on an interview in June 2017 Through nine months, Noor Mohammod was only given a meagre amount of $130 monthly by his employer, and the entirety of that money had to be allocated to pay a catering company so that he could get his daily meals. $130. That’s all? I sit...

“Short pants, T-shirt, like this airport how to go?”

By Sun Hanchen; based on an interview in May 2017 The TWC2 volunteer was only following TWC2’s registration protocol, as he requested Shahjahan Mahamud to pose for a simple photo for documentation purposes. Shahjahan hesitated. It was no surprise he was nervous that evening, for the treatment he received during and after his accident was nothing...

Worker had to pay $80 to get his own payslips

We shall call the worker Towhid. He was paid less than promised through several months of work. After lodging a complaint at the Ministry of Manpower, his case went before the Labour Court, which strictly speaking is an administrative tribunal within the ministry, not a judicial court. Nonetheless, one would expect the tribunal to have...

Injury compensation law vanishes on the way to the toilet

By Wahid Al Mamun, based on an interview in May 2017 What constitutes a workplace injury? This seems like an easy question to answer as I sit with Rana Md Sohel at TWC2’s meal programme. His claim seems reasonable enough – he cannot extend his left forearm fully, and there is a large scar running...