Two Immigrant Dorms Flagged for Hygiene and Safety Lapses

August 15, 201710:30 am512 views

After thorough investigation, an immigrant’s advocacy and welfare group found that an employer was guilty for failure in providing its foreign workers with ‘safe and acceptable’ accommodation. The employer was also involved in a wage dispute with 20 of its Bangladeshi employees, Straits Times reports.

In an official press release on Sunday (Aug 13), a representative from Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) stated that it will urge the authorities to take firm action against the employer. While the employer’s name was not mentioned, it is believed to be Mr Shah Jahan of SJH Trading.

The safety and hygiene lapses were found when the MWC visited two worker dormitories in Geylang Lorogs 13 and 17, after midnight on Sunday.

Some of the lapses identified during the visit included filthy common areas, poorly ventilated sleeping rooms that were infested with cockroaches and bedbugs, inadequate sanitary facilities as about dozen workers sharing a single toilet and shower in each unit, and housing more than eight workers allowed in each unit.

The Sunday Times was the first to report on the plight of the Bangladeshi workers. Trapped in a no win-win situation, their work permits in Singapore were cancelled and their salary claims are being handled.

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The MWC also discovered that Shah Jahan, a permanent resident from Bangladesh who was in charge to control three construction companies that hire the foreign workers, had been cooking meals by himself for the entire workforce at the unit in Lorong 13.

During its visit, the MWC found more than 100 packets of that day’s breakfast and lunch already cooked and prepared to distribute.

MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said that, “The workers at both premises told our officers that the employer charges each worker $130 per month for the catered food, despite the fact that meals were frequently unconsummable due to their having gone bad.”

He added that this practice was “unacceptable”, given the “fire and health hazard” of having industrial catering in close proximity to workers’ sleeping quarters.

Mr Shah Jahan had told The Sunday Times that his workers wanted to “condemn” his name.

Mr Yeo responded that there was a “blatant disregard for the potentially disastrous consequences” should an incident of fire or disease happen at the units. He added that the MWC would be putting the employer “on notice”, and have obtained photographic evidence of the lapses for further action.

He said the MWC will give its findings to the authorities and urge strict action against Mr Shah Jahan “as a clear message of deterrence to other unscrupulous and exploitative employers”.

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