SOLYMONE BLOG

WORKERS UNPAID AND WITHOUT FOOD


A temporary apartment was overcrowded, so some of the 18 men chose to sleep in the open at Jalan Kayu.
SINGAPORE - A GROUP of 18 foreign workers spent the weekend sleeping under a tree in Jalan Kayu amid a dispute with their employers over pay.
The men, mainly from Bangladesh, camped in the open after leaving a Tuas dormitory on Friday. They claim they have not been paid for up to three months, which amounts to about $900 to $1,500 each.
However, their employer, JM Building Construction, said they have been paid, and that they worked for only a fraction of their seven months here.
On Friday, the workers had to leave a dormitory in Tuas when their project in nearby Jurong was completed. They were bound for a dormitory in Bukit Batok, but at the last minute, the person in charge there pulled out of the deal, said JM marketing manager Mark Than.
The decision left the company strapped for accommodation. Mr Than, 29, said that as a temporary measure he took the men to the company's workers' quarters at a shophouse unit in Jalan Kayu. But the workers said the apartment was overcrowded, something Mr Than acknowledged as well. There were 27 workers living in the three-bedroom unit. Some of the displaced workers opted to sleep on a nearby patch of grass.
Last night, Mr Than said he had found another place for the workers in Woodlands. But the workers refused to go, saying JM had broken its promises in the past. Instead, the men turned to the welfare group, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home). Executive director Jolovan Wham, 29, said he would put them up somewhere else for the night.
The workers said they have been to the Manpower Ministry to settle the matter. This is the second case in a week. Last Thursday, The Straits Times reported that 180 foreign workers living in Tagore Lane had been left jobless, unpaid and without food.
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