Workers affected by closure of Five Stars Tours get help from unions

Workers who lost their jobs because of the sudden closure of Five Stars Tours travel agency can get help, including immediate financial assistance, if they are union members. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Workers who lost their jobs because of the sudden closure of Five Stars Tours travel agency can get help, including immediate financial assistance, if they are union members. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Workers who lost their jobs because of the sudden closure of Five Stars Tours travel agency can get help, including immediate financial assistance, if they are union members.

The tour agency abruptly shuttered its offices on Jan 8.

The Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers' Union (SMMWU) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) U Care will jointly provide $600 worth of vouchers to each of the affected union members to help them with the purchase of daily necessities, especially with the festive season approaching.

The two groups, in a joint statement issued on Saturday, said they will contact members to brief them on details of the help scheme. Members can also call NTUC General Branch Unit at 6213 8008 for more information or further assistance.

The SMMWU will also assist affected members in their job search. They can contact SMMWU at 6294 2481 and provide the union with their resumes for job-matching with other unionised companies of SMMWU.

Affected workers who are Singaporeans/Permanent Residents can approach NTUC's e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) for assistance with training and job placements. Non-citizens can approach NTUC or SMMWU for help. Workers must be union members before the closure of Five Stars Tours.

Some former employees of the beleaguered firm said they were told that the 24-year-old agency was closing down only 30 minutes before it shut its doors. An employee, who spoke to The Straits Times earlier on condition of anonymity, claimed the closure was due to bad investments made by the agency's managing director Ken Lim Cheng Chuan in Malaysia. She claimed that his business woes began when he was swindled by a business partner across the Causeway and had to shut down Five Stars branches in Kuala Lumpur, Muar and Batu Pahat in June last year.

The sudden closure of the company also left thousands of customers stranded. Many had purchased Five Stars packages to Malaysia for the Chinese New Year period which starts end of this month.

At least seven travel agencies have stepped forward to help customers, offering a mixture of rebates and discounts.

Affected customers who have purchased travel insurance before the closure should seek help from their insurance providers. Those who were not covered by travel insurance should approach the Consumers Association of Singapore or the Small Claims Tribunal.

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments