50 workers living like sardines in 2 condo units

Muneerah November 20, 2014

About 50 construction workers from India and Bangladesh were crammed into two condo units in Selegie Centre (pictured) near Little India, revealed a spot check by officials from the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) and reported in the media.

“Upon our inspection, we found that the living conditions of the workers are unacceptable. We urge the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to take serious action against the employer. This kind of behaviour cannot be condoned,” said MWC Executive Director Bernard Menon.

One unit is as big as a typical two-bedroom apartment which can accommodate a family of four. The workers slept on the floor, or on wooden boards along the hallways outside the apartments.

Based on Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)’s rules, leased residential properties should only accommodate up to eight people, regardless of size.

Subsequently, officers from MOM went to the condo units and recorded the details of all the employees living there.

“Our initial assessment is that the units are overcrowded and we are investigating several employers for failing to ensure that their foreign employees have acceptable accommodation,” said a spokesperson from the ministry.

Employers who fail to provide proper accommodation for their workers can be imprisoned for up to one year and/or pay a fine of up to $10,000.

MWC officials also checked an improvised hut in Geylang Lorong 8, where Harri Construction & Maintenance have housed 16 of their workers from India. Situated at the backyard of an apartment block, the zinc-roof hovel was built above an underground sewage tank.

The MOM representative added they are investigating some of the workers’ allegations that their employer owes them several months’ worth of salaries.

 

Muneerah Bee, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories email muneerah@propertyguru.com.sg

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