Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 12/19/2012 06:33 | By Channel NewsAsia

Foreign workers in pay dispute at Yishun construction site

Foreign workers in pay dispute at Yishun construction site

Foreign workers in pay dispute at Yishun construction site

SINGAPORE: More than 30 workers — from China and India — at a Yishun construction site were involved in a salary dispute on Tuesday, leading to some of them stopping work to demand their pay.

Channel NewsAsia understands the workers are owed between one and four months’ pay each.

The project at the site is a HDB residential development and the company involved is believed to be Sime Chong Construction.

Officials from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have been in negotiations with the employers and workers on site since about 6pm Tuesday.

Also present were officials from the Migrant Workers’ Centre, who told reporters the company has agreed to pay the workers what is owed.

Edmund Ng, executive director of Migrant Workers’ Centre, said: "We came here, because we heard there were workers who might be in trouble, and we’re here to help. Tonight there may be four workers who will need our help in terms of accommodation. We have a dormitory and we’re going to put them in the dormitory tonight. As we speak, the plan is taking shape."

MOM said in a statement that it has been investigating Sime Chong Construction for Employment Act infringements.

The ministry also said that since November 2012 when four workers from China who were working for Sime Chong lodged salary claims at MOM, its labour relations officers have been working to resolve the workers’ salary arrears.

MOM said its preliminary investigations show that some 20 Indian workers did not turn up for work on Tuesday, as they had not received their November salaries which would have been due by 7 December.

MOM said these workers did not previously approach the ministry on their salary issues.

Sime Chong, assisted by the main sub—contractor Asiabuild, is currently working to pay the outstanding salaries to the affected workers within the next 24 hours, said MOM.

MOM said it takes a serious view of employers who do not comply with Singapore’s employment laws.

— CNA/ir

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