The Ministry of Manpower felt their integrity was impugned by “serious allegations” that are “entirely false” in my recent article “Injured worker awarded $69,000 in compensation, employer not paying”. They issued a media statement Friday, 18 January 2013. You can see the statement in full here.
My article raised three key issues: Continue reading ‘MOM confuses tough questions with “false allegations”’
Uzzal Kumar Mondal won his case at the ‘Labour Court’ and was awarded compensation totalling $69,838. A workplace accident left him virtually blind in his right eye. The compensation order was issued on 25 October 2012. His employer has stubbornly not paid despite being given a deadline of 21 days from the date of the court order. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is not lifting a finger to help him get what is due to him.
Quite the contrary. In the second week of January, an MOM officer called him back and interrogated him. For four hours, according to Uzzal, he was talked to constantly. The officer asked him all sorts of questions about the accident all over again, at one point saying something to the effect that if his details today did not coincide with his earlier statements, there would be “problems” for him.
What was meant by that?
Uzzal felt harassed throughout. He felt that the officer was intent on tripping him up, and fishing for ways to reverse the court order; perhaps even looking for a way to prosecute him for lying under oath. Continue reading ‘Injured worker awarded $69,000 in compensation, employer not paying’
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said the recent SMRT bus drivers’ strike was a “wake-up call” to employers, asking them to reflect on their own human resource and feedback systems.
Are there avenues for complaints and so on available? Are they working the way they are supposed to and so on?
– Today, 4 December 2012, SMRT drivers’ illegal strike a wake-up call for companies: Tan Chuan-Jin
He should start with his own ministry. Are there effective avenues for complaints and satisfactory resolution for workers at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)? Are they working the way they are supposed to? Continue reading ‘Who chases workers up cranes?’
I needed a new pair of shoes; the old pair didn’t survive Bali.
The sales assistant at Famous Brands saw me take an interest in a sample shoe on the shelf. I was flexing it to check its suppleness, scrutinising its sole, but still a little doubtful about the colour. She said, in Chinese, “It’s a good brand.”
“Why are you speaking Chinese to me?” I asked. “Would you speak English to me please?”
“Yes,” she replied (in English), followed two seconds later with another sentence in Chinese extolling the virtues of the shoe. Continue reading ‘Shoes and the public’
Published 1 December 2012
business and employment , media
I have three points to make about the industrial action undertaken by bus drivers of SMRT Corp earlier this week. 171 of them, all recruited from China, failed to show up for work last Monday; 88 were absent the following day (Source: Straits Times, 1 Dec 2012, SMRT has deep-seated issues: CEO).
My 3 points are:
1. There should be equal pay for equal work;
2. The government is shooting itself in its own foot by abandoning principle #1 above;
3. The government pretends there is a process for labour justice, but there isn’t and its absence sows the seed for future instability. Continue reading ‘As bus drivers strike, government messaging goes into overdrive.’
Swiftly, the National Trades Union Congress sacked Amy Cheong. The erstwhile Assistant Director for Memberships had posted on Facebook racist remarks (see at left) about Malay weddings held at void decks.
No less than the prime minister chipped in to condemn her behaviour. Writing on Facebook, Lee Hsien Loong, currently in New Zealand avoiding reporters, said it was “an isolated case that does not reflect the strength of race relations in Singapore.”
He added: “But it sharply reminds us how easily a few thoughtless words can cause grave offence to many, and undermine our racial and religious harmony.”
This reaction follows an established course. Race and religion have always been considered highly sensitive issues in Singapore. The Sedition Act has been used against several others who have similarly made foul comments of such nature over the internet. Whether Amy Cheong will likewise be prosecuted is yet unknown. Continue reading ‘Standing up against racism is the easy test, Singapore government needs to show its true colours’
In a blogpost on 30 September, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-jin laid out some numbers to show that the growth in the foreign workforce is moderating. At the same time, he discussed the difficult balance that has to be struck between business anxieties about labour shortage and popular frustration over too many foreigners in Singapore.
Popular frustration takes three forms: (a) job competition, (b) crowding and infrastructure overload, and (c) cultural destabilisation. Different people would give a different weightage to these concerns. For this discussion however, I am going to focus on job competition alone. Continue reading ‘On foreign labour and the income gap: Acting in moderation or muddling through?’
“Does it still hurt?” I asked Rubio that Wednesday evening.
He nodded and asked me for some painkillers.
Over the counter, there weren’t a lot of options. I did the best I could for him.
“What about clothes?” I asked. “Do you have anything else besides what you’re wearing?”
“No, don’t have,” he said. “Everything gone.” Maybe they had all been thrown away by the landlord when he failed to return and pay his rent. Continue reading ‘Torturing the poorest of the poor, in the name of law and order’
Sakae Sushi’s $3,000 cleaner-and-dishwasher job has many of the characteristics of poor human resources design so prevalent in Singapore. Even if they manage to fill the ten positions that the company has, I suspect it is not a sustainable solution. Employees will not stay long or will call in sick with little notice, causing disruption to operations. Singapore bosses often pin blame on employees’ poor work attitude but few bosses interrogate their own attitudes towards their staff and their own limitations when it comes to designing jobs. Continue reading ‘The future according to sushi’
You reporters are missing the point — was what I felt on seeing that the chief angle of both stories in the Straits Times was how difficult it can be for teachers to maintain discipline in schools if parents did not cooperate. Yes, that’s a valid news angle, but surely the most striking thing about the story was that of a mother who takes her son to a hair salon for $60 styling jobs.
What kind of values does that instill in children? Continue reading ‘Haircuts, hotels and photo clubs’