SINGAPORE: Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan—Jin has said his ministry can and will do more for foreign workers.
He said this in response to various criticisms about the ministry’s management of migrant worker matters.
Mr Tan said the ministry’s various systems, including those dealing with employment issues for workers, can be improved, and the ministry will continue to work on them.
He also pointed out that whatever systems are in place, there will always be some employers who are irresponsible and who do not treat workers fairly.
However, most are reasonable employers, and should not be tarred with the same brush.
The same goes for workers.
In a blog post on Tuesday evening to mark International Migrants Day, Mr Tan said the ministry has reviewed its legislation and will continue to do so to ensure protection for workers.
He stressed the ministry is not pro—employer or pro—worker.
Instead, it strives to balance the employer—worker relationship while ensuring vulnerable workers are not disadvantaged.
But Mr Tan added the onus is also on employers —— those who bring in foreign workers must also be responsible for them and treat them fairly.
Employers should not simply look at the bottom—line, without caring for workers’ welfare and well—being. Mr Tan added that this applies for local and migrant workers alike.
He said workers are also more productive and committed, if they are taken care of.
Mr Tan stressed it is about doing what is right and time should be taken to recognise the contributions of migrant workers in Singapore.
He pointed out that Singapore’s economy and businesses will continue to tap on foreign workers to supplement specific sectors and workers who may not be as familiar with the laws and avenues for help in Singapore are vulnerable.
Mr Tan said their rights should and must be protected.
More than 90 per cent of some 3,000 work pass holders surveyed in 2011 were satisfied with working in Singapore and Mr Tan said things should be kept that way.
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