SINGPORE: 1,062 employers were warned or fined in 2012 for providing foreign workers with poor accommodation.
Seven were also convicted for failure to give such workers acceptable quarters in Singapore.
In 2011, enforcement action was taken against 1,069 employers.
This issue has been in the spotlight following last December’s illegal strike by drivers from bus operator SMRT, who were unhappy about their living conditions.
In the event’s aftermath, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) inspected the dormitories of the drivers and found general housekeeping conditions below par.
The ministry shared the findings with SMRT’s management. SMRT said it will provide alternative accommodation for its bus drivers, when its rental agreements with the private dormitory operators end.
Authorities regularly pick sites in Singapore where foreign workers stay to check if living conditions are decent.
On January 23 this year, a four—hour multi—agency inspection found 15 out of 44 private residences in Geylang unacceptable for housing foreign workers.
Many foreign workers aren’t able to communicate in fluent English and that is why inspection officers are equipped to speak their language.
Besides the MOM, other agencies involved in the joint operation include the Singapore Civil Defence Force, National Environment Agency, Urban Redevelopment Authority and police.
This type of operation is typically done monthly.
Phua Boon Leng, director at MOM, said: "During our checks, we also make sure that we interview some of the workers to find out what kind of problems they face, what kind of challenges they face in their work, and therefore we can help them."
Employers have to relocate workers whose living conditions are found to be poor.
In 2012, MOM inspected 865 workers’ quarters.
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