NTUC Foodfare, the agent that manages the Old Airport Road Food Centre, has retaliated against complaints made by hawkers which were made viral by user Gary Ho on Facebook, among which include almost round-the-clock operation hours and various hefty fees imposed against stall owners.
Local chocolatier Lim Jialiang has pointed out in a Facebook post that while "Foodfare doesn't force hawkers to stay open for extremely long," the contract suggests that hawkers are "forced to keep a minimum of 8 hours of opening time."
Mr Lim Jialiang wrote the post in response to Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan's comment – that "there was no such requirement" as alleged by Mr Ho – regarding the "20+ hours" requirement.
Mr Lim Jialiang found this problematic because "it doesn't account for the amount of work they have to put in before service."
"Some stores manage better, like roast meat stores or chicken rice stores. Other stores, like places selling noodles and the like, are limited to the amount of stock they can make for the day. This can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to prepare.
"So realistically, even if a hawker only starts their operations at 8 and ends at 12, the work before, and after, add up to a lot more hours than what we see.
"Imposing a minimum opening time is a slap to the faces of long time hawkers, many of them in their twilight years, and can only work for so long," wrote Mr Lim Jialiang.
Old Airport Road Food Centre being listed on NTUC Foodfare's bulletin for tender inconsistent with statement it made to Mothership.sg?
Mothership.sg reported that NTUC Foodfare has stated that the contract does not apply to the Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, which was also noted by Mr Lim Jialiang.
However, the Old Airport Road Hawker Centre was listed in a bulletin for tender on the NTUC Foodfare website, along with the other hawker centres managed by Foodfare:
NTUC Foodfare's bulletin for tender at hawker centres. Source: NTUC Foodfare website
If one were to download the application form from the website, one would see the form as shown below, stating that it is required for the hawker to seek Foodfare for permission to close the stall for more than 1 day per week or to operate the stall for less than 8 hours for any business day during the tenancy period.
Mr Lim Jialiang questioned the apparent contradiction in NTUC Foodfare's statement to Mothership and what has been stated on its website: "If it doesn't [include Old Airport Road Food Centre], then why does the bulletin for tender also refer to the hawker centre there? Does that mean that other Foodfare-managed NEA hawker centres also have terms like this?"