~by: Cheong Yaoming
UPDATE: The following is a response from Ministry of Manpower on this case:
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) was alerted by the Police this morning of an incident involving around 200 work permit holders employed by Sunway Concrete Products (S) Pte Ltd and Techcom Construction & Trading Pte Ltd over unpaid salaries since November 2011.
MOM’s officers responded to the incident immediately and went down to the worksite at Tampines Industrial Street 62.
MOM’s interim investigations revealed that the employers had not paid their workers since November 2011. MOM understands that by 8pm today (6 February 2012), the employers would have paid out the November 2011 salaries to all the affected workers, with MOM officers present on-site.
The employers have also assured MOM that the affected workers will receive their outstanding December 2011 salaries by this Friday (10 February). MOM will continue investigations here and follow up with the workers to ensure that they receive their December 2011 and January 2012 salaries promptly. MOM officers will also interview workers on other employment-related issues.
MOM does not condone employers who fail to pay salaries on time, or fail to upkeep and maintain the foreign workers they have brought in. MOM urges workers to report to MOM early if they have salary arrears.
Over a hundred mostly Bangladeshi workers went on strike today at a construction site in Tampines Industrial Street 62, over a dispute of unpaid salaries. Sunway Concrete Products (S) Pte Ltd are the main contractors, and Techcom Construction & Trading Pte Ltd is the sub-contractor of the construction site for HDB flats.
At 8am, instead of starting work, the workers went on strike because they have not been paid since October 2011. TOC understands that several pleas to the main and sub contractors to settle the unpaid salaries went unheard.
The workers complained that there were deductions of $150 per month for food and $20 for utilities. Further to these, $1500 was also deducted from workers who requested that their work permits be renewed.
The workers on strike complained that they were paid only $18 per day and had to work till 1am, with no overtime pay. Despite the monthly $150 deduction per worker for food, the quality of food was uneatable. The workers had to pay for the food even if they refused the meals served.
When TOC visited the site, the police had cordoned it off and we were not allowed to talk to the workers on strike.
TOC understands that the workers will be paid their salaries due in November by today; and that by Friday, the contractors have agreed to pay the salaries for December.
Article updated on 6 February 2012 at 8.30pm.