Foreign workers stop work over salary delay in Singapore

Dec 19 2012, 14:27 IST
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SummaryWorkers employed by Sime Chong Construction Pte Ltd did not turn up for work despite a ban on strike.

Twenty eight foreign workers at a construction site, including 20 Indians, stopped work after they were not paid their salaries for the last month, forcing the city state's government to intervene in the matter.

Manpower Ministry yesterday found that the workers employed by Sime Chong Construction Pte Ltd did not turn up for work yesterday despite a ban on strike.

“Our preliminary investigations show that some 20 Indian workers did not turn up for work today (Dec 18), as they had not received their November salaries which would have been due by December 17, 2012,” said the ministry in a statement last night.

“Based on the facts available, the ministry does not consider this to be a strike,” said the ministry.

Instead, the ministry pointed out that the employer had breached the term of employment and the Employment Act.

“It was a breached of the employment terms by the contractor employing the workers without paying them on time," said the ministry.

“The company, 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 the ministry.

This case is the latest among a number of increasing incidents of foreigner workers affected by salary related issues or poor dormitory conditions.

Earlier this month, 171 Chinese nationals working as bus drivers with a major transportation company in the city state went on a strike, which highlighted the plight of foreign workers in Singapore.

Singapore's construction and services sectors are highly dependent on foreign workers due to local labour shortage.

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