Ministry of Manpower MOM says that more than 260 migrant workers owed salaries by contractor Shanghai Chong Kee
A strike or protest that was conducted on 18 Oct 2022 in Ang Mo Kio by foreign construction workers here in Singapore, got the Manpower Ministry to launch investigations in to salary matters with a construction contractor Shanghai Chong Kee.
It was revealed that 269 migrant construction workers were owed salaries by contractor Shanghai Chong Kee according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The Ministry of Manpower MOM is also assisting these workers.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad gave this update on Wednesday 9th Nov 2022 during parliamentary session in response to a parliamentary questions about the Oct 18 protest outside a building in Ang Mo Kio.
On 18 Oct 2022, 10 (Ten) men had blocked the entrance and exit of the building, demanding their salaries while holding up signs with the company name Shanghai Chong Kee in Mandarin. While the men were from different nationalities they held up signs in Mandarin. Protests are rare in Singapore.
These foreign workers who were protesting, were from Zhengda Corporation - a subcontractor engaged by Shanghai Chong Kee. After the protest, Ministry of Manpower launched an investigation which later revealed that 268 migrant workers were owed salary payments.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said that as at Oct 31, Shanghai Chong Kee has settled part of the old payments and we are working with them on the payment schedule for the rest.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad when on to say "So it is not that the employer had deliberately held back the payments, but we also understand that during these challenging times, sometimes payments are delayed. I think in the construction sector, we all know the challenges that they are facing too. So we try to mediate and see how best we can come to a middle ground (and) settle, So rest assured that actually most of the payments have already been paid for. Their owed salaries are partially covered. So we are now settling the rest and there's an instalment plan being worked out."
While the authorities are unable to provide much detail as police investigations are still ongoing, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said the Government takes "a very strong view" when a worker is owed their salary.
According to the report, some of these foreign migrant workers employed by Shanghai Chong Kee had to use their own personal savings for food, transport. We feel this is completely wrong.
Migrant workers with salary arrears may approach the Forward Assurance and Support Team (FAST) officers or Friends of ACE (FACE) volunteers at their dormitories, or update MOM through the monthly salary survey on the FWMOMCare application.
Unions and NGOs, such as the Migrant Workers' Centre which operates a hotline, can also support and advise migrant workers on where to get help and work with MOM to provide assistance to migrant workers.
We feel that migrant workers should be paid on time and without fail, regardless of challenging times or hard times. They did the work. It is not for them to get sales or to collect payments from clients. They put in their effort, their blood sweat and tears and should be compensated accordingly.
For migrant workers to knowingly protest in public in Singapore, means they may have been at their wits end.