To fund the required recruitment fee for his job, Habibur took a loan from Brac Bank. Even from the beginning, the repayment demands looked tight. Then the unexpected happened.
We hoped to find out how workers navigated the procedure for going out on rest days. Instead we found that most weren't going anywhere.
With mediation meetings too difficult to organise, most cases were suspended. With the gradual lifting, there's some movement, but little prospect of happy outcomes.
Kamrul and Majumder share something important: both their illegal recruiters were based here in Singapore. In Majumder's case, an additional payment was demanded by someone in the company.
Relationships and trust figure strongly in how a Bangladeshi worker like Khairul operates in the world. In bureaucratic Singapore, they don't work so well.
Injured workers who need to attend hospital follow-ups get caught in overly-strict rules about leaving their dorms for appointments. They might miss their doctor dates.
Covid-19 will continue to appear repeatedly. If each time we see a cluster, we shut down thousands of workers, the economic cost will be very great.