Following the protest held by approximately 30 foreign workers at the old Central Provident Fund tower construction site on Mon (4 Mar) over their unpaid salaries allegedly amounting to S$300,000, main contractor Shimizu Corporation has revealed that its sub-contractor Stargood Construction currently owes the main construction firm around S$540,000.
TODAY Online reported on Fri (8 Mar) that contrary to the promised number of workers, which was supposed to be around 80 to 110 workers daily, Shimizu claimed that only around 40 to 60 workers were supplied at the site.
Shimizu added that Stargood “failed to satisfactorily carry out sub-contract works,” and that consequently, it had “no other alternative but to provide adequate supply of labour and materials to Stargood” to conduct the building works at the site, which had set back Shimizu “around S$820,000”.
Deputy general manager of Shimizu Corporation’s Singapore office Bonaventure Lek elaborated: “These cost and expenses are borne by Stargood, and that exceeded the amount that we have yet to pay.
“This resulted in the non-payment. In fact, they owe us a balance sum instead,” Mr Lek told TODAY Online.
“After deducting the costs and expenses, a balance sum of about S$540,000 is now due and owing from Stargood to Shimizu,” he added.
While Mr Lek stressed that it is not obligated to make payments to the workers, given that the workers are Stargood’s employees and not Shimizu’s own, it was learnt that Shimizu is “currently assisting” the workers.
“We will have dialogues with Stargood and see how we can proceed from here,” noted Mr Lek, adding: “If the need arises, we will take necessary action.”
Noting that it has informed Stargood of the outstanding amount, Shimizu criticised Stargood for shifting the responsibility of making payment to the latter’s workers onto the multinational construction firm, calling Stargood’s actions “regrettable”.
TODAY Online reported that a man named Lin Jie Biao is the owner of Stargood, who claimed that Shimizu has not made any payments since Dec 2018. This claim is refuted by the main contractor, which said that it had, in fact, already paid the sub-contractor a sum of S$1.26 million.
However, a search conducted by TOC in the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) records revealed Mr Lin Yong Shun as the owner of Stargood.
Redevelopment of old CPF Building costs approximately $1 billion
The redevelopment of the old CPF Building is carried out through a joint venture between urban solutions provider Ascendas-Singbridge Group, trading company Mitsui & Co and real estate developer Tokyo Tatemono Co.
The cost is said to about to be about $1 billion, with the site purchased via a tender late 2015 for $550 million, The Straits Times reported.
Migrant Workers Centre to supply groceries, accommodation to affected workers
ST reported that in addition to mediation between the construction workers and the two construction firms, the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) – a government-based NGO – will be providing groceries via a sponsor and assisting the workers with their accommodation.
MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kwang, who is also a former PAP MP, told the press on Fri (8 Mar) that the centre has been liaising with the workers regarding ways to assist them since the day the protest was held.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) told ST that “the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management is assisting the workers with their salary claims,” adding that the workers’ claims are still being investigated.