On March 6, a group of migrant labourers assembled in front of the old Central Provident Fund building to protest Stargood Construction’s failure to pay them their salaries.
A mediation session for the protesting labourers and Stargood Construction was scheduled in order to settle matters.
The group claimed that subcontractor Stargood Construction owed them at least S$300,000 as salaries for 59 labourers.
But Lin Jie Bao, Stargood’s owner, also claimed that its main contractor, Shimizu Corporation, also failed to pay them for their work.
Shimizu deputy manager Benjamin Lek did not have prior knowledge that Stargood failed to pay its labourers.
“These are not our workers, so we are just helping to tide them over until they can stand on their own feet,” said Lek.
As negotiations continue, Singaporean non-government organization, Migrant Workers Centre (MWC), has been giving aid to the labourers by supplying groceries and providing accommodation. Shimizu has also agreed to work with MWC to help the affected labourers.
Following the protest incident, the Migrant Workers Centre posted:
“If you are a migrant worker and you face similar workplace issues or have any other burning questions or anxieties over your employment, do not delay or hesitate to come forward and seek help.
“We will walk you through your rights and protections, (sic) and provide you end to end assistance from registering your claim, all the way through to resolution or settlement, and thereafter, with employment placement with a new employer if this is possible.
“There are no charges for our services as long as you are a work permit holder. Particularly in the case of salary claims, we urge you to come forward to seek assistance as early as possible so that you will have the best chance of successful recovery. You can contact us via our Helpline 65362692 or leave us a message on FB.”
According to the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore has 1,371,700 foreign labourers, 280,400 of which have work permits for construction jobs as of June 2018. The foreign construction labourers reportedly earn around S$500 in a month.