5 workers who blocked Ang Mo Kio building entrance have been paid wages owed to them: MOM
Five of the 10 foreign workers who blocked the entrance of an Ang Mo Kio building over unpaid wages have been paid their salaries by their employer, construction firm Zhengda Corporation, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM).
Shanghai Chong Kee, which is the main contractor that engaged Zhengda Corporation as a sub-contractor to carry out renovations to the lobby of the NCS Hub building, also owes several migrant workers their wages, MOM added in a Facebook post on Friday.
It is not known how many workers are owed wages by Shanghai Chong Kee because investigations are ongoing, MOM said.
In the Facebook post, MOM said: “Both Shanghai Chong Kee and Zhengda Corporation are being investigated for possible offences under the Employment Act.”
It added that MOM and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) have been helping the 10 migrant workers from Zhengda Corporation who were involved in the incident.
MOM said: “We have assisted all five workers with their salary claims, and Zhengda Corporation has since settled the payments in full.
“We have also verified that the other five workers as well as the rest of Zhengda Corporation’s workforce are not owed salary payments and did not report any well-being concerns thus far.”
Nine men, aged between 28 and 54, blocked the entrance and exit of the NCS Hub building at 5 Ang Mo Kio Street 62 on Tuesday.
A tenth man has since been found to be involved.
In an 18-second video of the incident posted on Tuesday on Facebook group Singapore Incidents, five of the nine could be seen holding up pieces of paper, variously printed in Mandarin with the name of renovation firm Shanghai Chong Kee, “repay debts owed” and “money owed unpaid”.
Shanghai Chong Kee is the main contractor for renovations to the NCS Hub lobby, while Zhengda Corporation was a sub-contractor that supplied six workers - four Chinese and two Bangladeshis - from Aug 4 to Sept 27, said Shanghai Chong Kee managing director Harry Tan on Tuesday.
The police on Tuesday received a call for assistance at 5 Ang Mo Kio Street 62 at about 1.50pm that day.
The nine men complied when told by police officers to stop their protest.
No arrests have been made so far, and the workers have since been helping in police investigations for the offence of participating in a public assembly without a permit, added the police.
An eyewitness on Tuesday said one of the men told him the workers were owed three months’ wages.
Later, staff from non-governmental organisation Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) visited migrant workers employed by Shanghai Chong Kee who lived at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol on Tuesday evening, after finding out Shanghai Chong Kee company is the main contractor.
“From conversations with 30 migrant workers employed by Shanghai Chong Kee at the dormitory, MWC learnt that many from among those present faced issues relating to their employment, which in some instances, required workers affected to use their own personal savings for food and transport expenses,” said the organisations.
“To urgently provide temporary relief until their issues are resolved, MWC immediately sourced a caterer to provide for the daily meals of the roughly 200 workers from the company who reside at the S11 Dormitory,” they added.
The organisations also said that the MWC would notify MOM of its findings from the visit, and it is ready to assist the ministry with quickly resolving all outstanding employment issues migrant workers of both Zhengda Corporation and Shanghai Chong Kee face.
“Both MWC and BATU will continue to reach out and follow up with the workers of Zhengda Corporation and Shanghai Chong Kee to check on their wellbeing, as well as render any assistance they might require.
“In addition, BATU will also reach out to the management of both companies to ensure that workers’ interests are protected.”
The organisations also advised workers facing workplace issues to turn to BATU and MWC for assistance.
National Trades Union Congress members in the built environment industry can contact BATU by its hotline at 6220 1233 or e-mail at email@example.com
They can also contact TADM@NTUC at 6213 8008, submit queries at www.ntuc.org.sg/workplaceadvisory or walk in to TADM@NTUC located at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East.
All workers can submit their queries to TADM at https://www.tal.sg/tadm or via an appointment, added the organisations.
Meanwhile, migrant workers can contact MWC via its 24-hour helpline at 6536 2692 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org