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More recreation centres for foreign workers better than weekdays off: Bosses

Published on Jan 23, 2014 8:12 AM
Workers playing street soccer at a recreation centre in Jurong West. There are plans to build more such leisure facilities to add to the four now in operation. -- ST FILE PHOTO

Getting foreign workers to take a day off on a weekday instead of Sunday will not go down well with them as Sunday is the only common day off for foreign workers, and they use the time to meet friends who work for other companies, said construction and marine industry bosses.

Instead, these employers said, the Manpower Ministry's plans for more recreation centres would work better in preventing large groups of foreign workers from gathering at popular areas such as Little India. Such congregations have become a concern after the Dec 8 riot in Little India.

Besides the addition of leisure facilities, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin suggested in Parliament on Monday that companies look into spacing out days off for foreign workers. But employers told The Straits Times it would be hard to get firms to coordinate rest days because of different work schedules.

For example, some workers do not have fixed days off. Not all rest on Sundays, as some work on weekends to earn up to double their daily wages, said Mr Lim Tek Seng, director of SPG Marine. "Whether the workers get a day off depends on whether they ask for one, and if I have enough manpower for that day," he said.

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