Employer of Singapore workers in salary protest owes us S$540,000, says company

Police officers were seen talking to over 30 foreign workers at the site of the old Central Provident Fund building March 6, 2019. — TODAY pic
Police officers were seen talking to over 30 foreign workers at the site of the old Central Provident Fund building March 6, 2019. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, March 8 — Stargood Construction, the Singapore company whose workers staged a sit-down protest from Monday over salaries owed to them, in fact owes main contractor Shimizu Corporation about S$540,000 (RM1.6 million), the latter said yesterday.

According to Shimizu, this is because it had to compensate for Stargood’s inability to provide an adequate supply of labour and materials.

More than 30 foreign workers staged a sit-down protest at the old Central Provident Fund building site on Wednesday, claiming that 59 of them were owed a total of nearly S$300,000 in unpaid salaries.

Refuting Stargood’s owner Lin Jie Biao’s claims that Shimizu had not paid him since December last year, the main contractor said that it had already given its subcontractor S$1.26 million.

Shimizu said in a statement that Stargood was supposed to supply about 80 to 110 workers daily for the construction works at the site.

“However, Stargood supplied only about 40 to 60 workers daily and failed to satisfactorily carry out sub-contract works,” Shimizu added.

As a result, Shimizu said that it had “no other alternative but to provide adequate supply of labour and materials to Stargood” to carry out the works, which cost the main contractor about S$820,000.

“These cost and expenses are borne by Stargood, and that exceeded the amount that we have yet to pay,” said Bonaventure Lek, deputy general manager of Shimizu Corporation’s Singapore office.

“This resulted in the non-payment. In fact, they owe us a balance sum instead.”

“After deducting the costs and expenses, a balance sum of about S$540,000 is now due and owing from Stargood to Shimizu,” the main contractor said, adding that this has been made known to Stargood.

Shimizu said it is “regrettable” that Stargood has not paid its workers and “has instead attempted to throw the blame at Shimizu”.

Nevertheless, Shimizu said it is assisting the affected workers and has engaged the services of the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC).

“Shimizu is not obligated to pay Stargood’s workers, as we are the main contractor, not their (these foreign workers’) employers,” said Lek.

TODAY understands that Lin will be contacting the Ministry of Manpower today, whereas a Shimizu representative will meet MWC to discuss solutions for the migrant workers.

“We will have dialogues with Stargood and see how we can proceed from here,” said Mr Lek.

“If the need arises, we will take necessary action.” — TODAY

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