Championing for the rights of hawkers, the founder of Makansutra KF Seetoh took to social media and questioned NTUC Foodfare’s response when asked about the mandatory closure of their hawker centres over the Chinese New Year holidays.
Late last week, Mr Seetoh called out the Hawker Centre Unit of NTUC Foodfare Co-operative for issuing a mandate that the Old Airport Road Hawker Centre be closed on the first and second days of the Lunar New Year.
Sharing the circular distributed to the tenants of the hawker centre on social media, Seetoh asked in a Facebook post earlier today (Jan 29), “Insensitive. Why do you need to dictate and close the hawker centre for the holidays”.
In the circular, the Management Agent (MA) wrote that they were “pleased to inform” that the hawkers would not be required to submit the Tenant Request Form (TRF) for any price adjustments to the food they sell. However, they add that an increase “must not be more than 50 cents”.
To this, Mr Seetoh wrote: “do not dictate how much they should raise or not, their prices. It’s their market knowledge that would formulate their price changes. If your parent NTUC could arrange for them to get cheaper supplies, then you have a narrative, otherwise, stay out of their operation. The public will decide if they want to patronise them”.
READ THE INITIAL STORY: Makansutra Founder KF Seetoh calls out NTUC Foodfare for issuing circular to close hawker centre for CNY
In responding to TISG’s queries, NTUC Foodfare wrote that “none of the hawker centres under our management are required to close during the Chinese New Year (CNY) period. This year, a number of stalls continued to operate across our centres on the first two days of CNY. There is no change in CNY operations practice since we took over the management of the centres 2 years ago”.
They also added that their “memo to hawkers could have been worded more clearly”.
“It was meant to indicate that the management office would not be opened on CNY instead of the whole hawker centre. We apologise for the misunderstanding. We assure our hawkers that our teams at the centers are available to assist if they require clarification on matters relating to their operations”, they said.
Earlier today (Feb 3), Mr Seetoh posted NTUC Foodfare’s circular yet again and commented, “So..the note was crysatl (sic) clear, but this was FoodFare’s response. What’s yours? Mine first, – they need better empathy, PR and editors”.
In calling for netizens’ comments, many others agreed with Mr Seetoh, even saying that NTUC Foodfare should have just accepted their error and apologized instead of calling it a ‘misunderstanding’.
TISG wrote to NTUC Foodfare, who declined to comment.
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