Going cashless? Over half of work permit holders don’t have bank accounts

  In early August 2017, it was reported in various media that public transport will be going cashless by 2020. By 2020, commuters travelling on Singapore’s transport system will no longer need to use cash or top up stored-value cards to pay for rides, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and TransitLink in a joint...

Letter to Straits Times: MOM’s advice out of step with reality

On 13 August 2017, the Straits Times highlighted the case of over a dozen Bangladeshi workers from SJH Trading. They told the newspaper that they had not been paid their salaries. Most are in their 40s, and had contracts stating they were to be paid a monthly salary of $1,600, excluding overtime pay. Their main...

Migrant workers in Singapore “vulnerable to forced labor, including debt bondage”, says US TIP 2017 report

Transient Workers Count Too is deeply appreciative of the US State Department’s efforts at drawing attention to the evil of trafficking in persons, through its annual Trafficking in Persons Report. The 2017 segment relating to Singapore can be found here: https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2017/271276.htm  Singapore was classed as Tier 2. TWC2 notes in particular these comments in the report:...

Straits Times reports on ‘gaps in Labour Court system’ and the plight of 5 Zach Engineering employees

Following the launch of TWC2’s research report yesterday (see Labour protection for the vulnerable: challenges and recommendations), the Straits Times carried two stories Friday (30 June 2017) almost filling up all of page B4.   The newspaper noted that our research study found “significant obstacles and uneven enforcement” that prevent migrant workers from getting justice,...

TWC2 participates in country review of Bangladesh at the United Nations in Geneva

Transient Workers Count Too was represented at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Bangladesh government’s handling of migrant worker issues came under scrutiny. Specifically, Bangladesh’s governance was reviewed against its commitments to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families. Bangladesh ratified this convention in August...

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...

The New Paper: Jobless and unpaid, foreign workers face daunting fate

The difficulties faced by foreign workers in Singapore seeking alternative jobs — even when permitted to do so by the Ministry of Manpower — were highlighted in a story in The New Paper 24 March 2017. The focus was on the men from HBB Engineering and related company C-Plus Engineering, featured in our post MOM...

TWC2 and HOME submit joint shadow report on Bangladesh re Migrant Worker Convention

Transient Workers Count Too and the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) submitted a joint shadow report to the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) on Bangladesh. It was submitted via the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. This...

Harri boss finally sent to jail for salary and housing abuses

In an encouraging development, the prosecutor in a recent case made the argument that using the threat of dismissal and repatriation to compel foreign workers to accept lower wages would constitute an offence. According to a news story in Today newspaper, Nallusamy Narayanan, the boss of a number of companies under the Harri name, had...

Employers should purchase more insurance, salutary lesson shows

We’ll call the worker ‘Byoghu’ in this story. He had worked before in Singapore and quite successfully. But when he returned for a second job, he soon fell ill. In the first two weeks on the job, he had a fever and was given medical leave. The employer decided to cancel his Work Permit on...