2 construction firms barred from hiring foreign workers over poor living conditions in unapproved accommodation

Cramped sleeping quarters in containers and make-shift zinc huts.
Cramped sleeping quarters in containers and make-shift zinc huts.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
Foreign workers only have three portable toilets to use, which were poorly maintained.
Foreign workers only have three portable toilets to use, which were poorly maintained.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
Workers have to take baths in an outdoor washing area, where there is a lack of privacy.
Workers have to take baths in an outdoor washing area, where there is a lack of privacy.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER

SINGAPORE - Two construction companies have been barred from hiring new foreign workers or renewing current employees' work passes.

B-Construction was convicted on Thursday (Dec 1) of housing its workers in unapproved accommodation and for helping Hong Xie Long to do so. B-Construction was also fined $74,000.

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), 26 foreign workers from both companies were housed in containers and makeshift zinc huts from January to June last year. There were only three portable toilets, which were poorly maintained, and the workers had to shower using hoses in an open-air area.

B-Construction did not obtain approval from government agencies nor endorsement by a Professional Engineer before housing the workers at the Canberra Crescent construction site.

All the affected workers have been relocated with help from MOM.

"Employers must take the well-being of their workers seriously," said Ms Jeanette Har, director of well-being at MOM's Foreign Manpower Management Division.

"We will take strong action against employers who house their workers in accommodation that does not have the necessary approvals and subject their workers to poor living conditions."

In 2015, MOM conducted more than 1,450 housing inspections and took action against 2,300 errant employers.

Members of the public with information about foreign workers being housed in unapproved or non-compliant accommodation are asked to inform MOM by calling 6438-5122 or e-mailing mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg.