At the appreciation dinner for 1,000 workers on Sunday (Dec 3) that was held to mark International Migrants Day on Dec 18, Minister of State for Manpower, Sam Tan handed out awards for 20 volunteers from migrant worker welfare group Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC). The awards were given to appreciate their work in reaching out to their peers to help address migrant workers’ issues such as salary disputes or unpaid medical claims.
Founded in 2013, 1,500 ambassadors have taken part in helping bring the MWC’s attention to their peer’s problems through the group’s volunteer scheme. The MWC, which is backed by the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress and employers, expects to triple its volunteer to 5,000 by 2020, said its chairman Yeo Guat Kwang.
Speaking at the event, Mr Yeo said that such wide network of ambassadors can help the MWC run an extra mile to reach out to more foreign workers in Singapore. This deed will make them feel assured that they can get help and put down their psychological carriers about consulting or going to the authorities. There are now more than 700,000 non-domestic foreign workers in Singapore, Straits Times reports.
Besides pairing mentors with newly arrived migrant workers to assist them in the integration process, the volunteer also helps disseminate information to workers. It also provides on-the-ground updates and feedbacks on unfair employment practices and potential incidents, such that MWC can intervene earlier before problems escalate even further.
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Being the guest-of-honor at the dinner, Mr Tan revealed that the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management had assisted more than 300 foreign workers since its launch in April this year. The alliance was made to provide advice as well as conduct mandatory and voluntary mediation for employment disputes.
The MWC added that it also aims to extend a programme that trains foreign workers in basic employment laws and protection for migrants to all its ambassadors in the near future. As for now, there about 100 ambassadors who have completed such programme.
In October, the group also began running campaigns to spread the SGSecure message in a series of roadshows held at various dormitories and recreational centres across Singapore. More than 18,000 workers have been engaged in efforts to teach migrant workers to “run, hide, tell” when an event of terrorist attack occurs, and to stay vigilant in situations that can threaten their safety and well-being while working in Singapore.
On the same day, a one-minute jingle, which can be shared on social media, was also launched by the group to help workers remember the key messages of the SGSecure campaign.
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