Thursday, March 26, 2009

More cost saving measures by our smart local companies - see how many foreign workers we can squeeze in a room!

2,600 foreign workers to be relocated after 147 firms fail dorm checks

SINGAPORE: An islandwide inspection of 16 foreign worker dormitories has resulted in 147 companies being given warnings to relocate their foreign workers. Some 2,600 workers were found living in sub-standard or illegal premises during the two-day operation which ended on Tuesday.

The Manpower Ministry, National Environment Agency, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Urban Redevelopment Authority fanned out across Singapore to check on foreign worker dormitories on March 10 and March 24.

This was to ensure employers complied with laws to provide their workers with acceptable accommodation.

In the first operation, inspectors found more than 1,900 foreign workers housed in eight unapproved dormitories. These were in Woodlands, Tuas and Serangoon Road.

83 companies were warned and within ten days more than half of these workers had been relocated to new lodgings. The rest have until next week to relocate and if they fail to do so, the workers' permits will be cancelled and they will have to be deported.

In the second operation on Tuesday, checks were conducted at four factories in the Sungei Kadut, Tuas, Tech Park and Tagore areas and on residential units in Serangoon Road.

This time, 64 companies were warned to relocate some 660 affected workers within the next two weeks.

The Manpower Ministry said the economic downturn is no excuse for employers to house their foreign workers in illegal or unapproved housing to save costs, as housing them in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions poses a danger to their safety and health.

Which means that right now there are at least 2,600 distressed foreign workers out there. They are definitely stressed and exasperated, thinking they are unjustly treated, and potentially feeling infuriated and antagonized. Perhaps even feeling hateful towards Singaporeans.

So what does this mean to us locals? How do you feel having 2,600 or more such workers on our streets right now? What is the worst that could happen when they see you and your family getting out of a posh car and walking towards a lavish restaurant for a luscious dinner?

And when the worst does happen, who do we blame?



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