“I was owed three months salary when my company went bust. I had no money to sustain myself, and I had no place to live. I was uncertain of my future and anxious whether I could get back my salary and where to stay,” said one migrant worker who requested for anonymity.
He and 26 other migrant workers were affected by the closure of their company after its director filed for bankruptcy.
Due to unpaid dormitory bills, all of them were evicted from their accommodation. On top of that, they were owed eight to 12 months of salary.
The Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) responded when they heard of the sudden eviction.
MWC proceeded to shelter them, provide meals, top-up their EZ-link cards and facilitated consultations with lawyers. The centre also helped them to find new employment.
“When I was brought to the MWC dormitory, I felt relieved that I had a place to stay and the three meals were taken care of while I waited for my claim. I also met with other brothers who were going through the same situation and were helped by MWC. I am thankful to see that even though we were all in a difficult situation, there was an organisation like MWC to help workers like me in our struggle,” said the migrant worker.
While the migrant workers, in this case, were unable to recover their claim fully, the MWC paid out ex gratia assistance totalling $30,000 to them.
The money came from MWC’s humanitarian charity called the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund (MWAF).
Helping Distressed Workers
The case wasn’t the first instance that MWC had aided aggrieved, distressed and displaced migrant workers since the centre started in 2009.
MWC has this year housed more than 530 migrant workers, provided more than 87,000 meals, and paid out more than $500,000 in the form of ex gratia assistance.
“Losing a job can be very distressing for anybody, let alone our migrant workers who are in a foreign land. As the claims process can be mentally and emotionally straining for them, the MWC hand-holds them throughout the entire process and assists in whatever way we can.
“Ultimately, we aim to make the entire process as painless as possible, and help our migrant workers get back on their feet again as soon as possible,” said MWC Chairman Yeo Guat Kuang, at this year’s International Migrants Day held on 16 December at Terusan Recreation Centre.
“As many migrant workers fear losing their jobs and being sent home, they may delay reporting the matter to the authorities. It is important that our migrant workers know that they should come to us early if they are owed their salaries, so that we can take the necessary action and help them find new employment in Singapore as soon as possible. We are working closely with the tripartite partners to enhance the process of helping displaced workers find new employment, to give them more reassurance in this area,” he added.
Migrant workers seeking assistance can call 6536 2692 for help.