Over $11,000 raised for foreign worker who was owed wages

Mr Islam (right) being handed the donations by Mr Aseem, with TWC2 treasurer Alex Au (left) and TWC2 general manager Ethan Guo. Mr Islam plans to use the money to buy a plane ticket home next week and save the rest.
Mr Islam (right) being handed the donations by Mr Aseem, with TWC2 treasurer Alex Au (left) and TWC2 general manager Ethan Guo. Mr Islam plans to use the money to buy a plane ticket home next week and save the rest.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Donations pour in from ST readers, donors on fund-raising site after report on his plight

Bangladeshi construction worker Islam Rafiqul will be going home, thanks to more than $11,000 in donations.

His employer, Geosray Engineering and Services, had ignored a Labour Court order to pay him $7,363 in wages that he is owed.

The 42-year-old was stuck as he did not have the means to pursue other legal options.

Yesterday, non-governmental organisation Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) handed him a $1,250 cash cheque, from donations by readers who had read about his plight in The Straits Times last week. He also received $10,160 in cash from online fund-raising website www.give.asia.

The website circulated ST's report and raised $10,462 from 263 donors, said co-founder Aseem Kumar Thakur.

 

A sum of $302 was deducted by banks to cover credit card processing fees for donors who used cards to donate through the website.

Mr Aseem, a permanent resident who runs the website on a voluntarily basis, said donors were moved to help. "Nobody likes stories of injustice."

PLAN TO RETURN

The Singapore people (are) good (to me). I (have) worked here (since) 1998. I like working here, not all bosses (are) bad.

MR ISLAM RAFIQUL

A law firm, which asked to remain anonymous, has also offered to help Mr Islam recover the debt from his employer on a pro bono basis, TWC2 said.

Mr Islam said he was "very happy" with the help. "The Singapore people (are) good (to me)."

He plans to use the money to buy a plane ticket home next week and save the rest. He also hopes to return here to work again.

"I (have) worked here (since) 1998. I like working here, not all bosses (are) bad," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'Over $11,000 raised for foreign worker who was owed wages'. Print Edition | Subscribe