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2/06/2012

Construction workers on strike in Tampines

Construction workers, mainly foreign workers, went on strike in a site building HDB flats. The main complaint is that workers were not paid since October 2011 and employers only agreed to pay the October salary today and salary due in December by Friday. Now is February 2012 and there should be two more months salary accrued and due for payment.

These workers are already badly exploited by their agents before coming here, and are mostly in debt. And the employers and contractors should have a little decency not continue to exploit them by not paying their dues.

Regardless of all legal and contractual obligations, it is simply inhuman to exploit them this way. On moral and ethical grounds, the govt must step in immediately to end such exploitation of such workers.

It is terribly shameful for a first world country to bully illiterate and helpless workers from poor countries. Despicable is the word to describe such abuses of workers whose only purpose here is to work and earn a decent living. And they are being paid pittance, not millions.

Where is the human conscience and humanity?

16 comments:

Newhik said...

I agree with you tha the Gahment have to step in to catch all these errant construction firms.

Even our "esteemed" leader LKY had said that Singaporeans need foregin labour to grow and by allowing such companies to exploit these works, won't we get into the stage where we are boycotted by these foreign labours?

However, standing from the point of the construction firms, I'm sure no bosses wants to owe their workers if they are able to. Unhappy workers could result in downtime or even deaths or injury, which will end up more trouble for the company.
However, knowing the way that the Gahment works, obtaining the lowest quote may not be such a good idea, as companies ends up doing shoddy works, employing illegal labourers or even cutting corners. Looking at the numerous complaints on new BTOs, maintenance works and such, it shows that the quality of work done by the Gahment ( or under its purview) has dropped dramatically.
Some people say that Singaporeans are a whiny bunch who complains endlessly. But if the Gahment is as perfect as they often shove into our faces, don't you think its more difficult for dissenters to cause trouble?
Like the old saying goes, where's there smoke, there's bound to be fire.

Anonymous said...

Only daft Sinkies still look for conscience in Sin.
In Sin, misdeed is the norm, enriching oneself through scheme and exploitation is pragmatic wisdom. Greed is entrepreneurship and the driving force for success.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Between pragmatism and conscience, it is better to have more profits. Conscience is best to be felt by the daft.

Anonymous said...

Finally.
Foreign talents teaching valuable job skills that Sinkies have long forgotten.

How to strike.
How to be a bad ass employee so that we won't be bullied so easily.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the ruling party cares about helping these workers or their ministerial salaries more?

Anonymous said...

These foreign workers are being introduced into the concept of national service ... S'pore style.

Anonymous said...

Not only foreign workers get late payment like this case. If you have ever worked for any GLCs or government departments as a contractor regardless as individual or your small SMEs, you have already experienced that these GLCs and government departments would pay you late most of the time, and some payments could be delayed for months and years. They have good corporate governance? My foot. In great contrast with other overseas business in the West and Japan, payments were prompt. The finance and accounting people in GLCs and government departments are simply suck. Some have the wrong thinking that delay in account payable will make profit for the organization, perhaps making more interest? This is poor practice. Account payable and receivable must be minimized at all time for good corporate governance. Those Singaporean accounting and finance people are daft.

Matilah_Singapura said...

@redbean:

>>Where is the human conscience and humanity?<<

Here we go again with the expectation of "spirituality" in every human. What rubbish!

The way to deal with out and out breach of contract -- i.e. work done, but no one's been paid -- is by the law.

The construction industry is well-known for operators with "cash and liquidity problems". Every contractor operates according to the following "philosophical" principles:

1. Always use OPM. In that way you can even lease a Mercedes when you are technically broke, so you can still maintain the "image of success".

2. Maximise your own profit, always

3. Demand immediate cash settlement on deals, but negotiate the longest terms for the payment of your commitments.

4. Be fast. Be fast to seize opportunity. Be fast to cut losses. Be fast in doing a disappearing act if it gets too hot.

Anyway, back to these workers.

Relying on certain aspects of human nature for "good behaviour" is a fool hardy way to proceed.

Capitalism and freedom can only work properly if there is the RULE OF LAW. In this case the Rule of Law needs to come down really hard on the contractors/ agents etc.

At the end of the day, justice.

Matilah_Singapura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Matilah, there are times when a little human decency is needed.

CHINKOTAN said...

TANCHINKO THE EMPLOYER WHO DELAY WORKERS' PAY COULD BE THEIR OWN COUNTRY MAN WHO SET UP COMPANY IN SINGAPORE. SOME EVEV HAVE THEIR OWN RECRUITMENT AGENCY TO BRING IN THEIR COUNTRYMAN TO WORK HERE.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi ChinkoTan, welcome to the blog.

In a wicked way, human beans would do anything for their own interests and exploiting other human beans and cheating other human beans are common traits in low and high places.

We can only say that we would not want to earn this kind of money. It is better to earn a little less and sleep well. Some have no qualms at all and would sleep very well too.

Anonymous said...

Will there be any end to these repeating and recurring industrial problems in Sin?

Gracie Nicholson said...

Foreign construction laborers are still workers who exert effort to support their families back at home, and the companies that employ them should provide them with sufficient wages and humane working conditions. I hope the government will stand as mediator between the two sides to resolve that issue.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Gracie, welcome to the blogs.

Exploitation of construction workers is already bad enough. Depriving or delaying paying them is real bad.

This is the 21st century and human rights or basic rights to being paid a decent wage for decent work done must be strictly enforced by any govt. It is basic human decency.

Anonymous said...

I was paid $400 a month when I was doing the same work they did, but I never went on strike.