Sembmarine apologises after Jurong dorm residents raise issues about hygiene, Covid-19 healthcare

Residents and healthcare workers at Westlite Jalan Tukang Dormitory on Oct 14, 2021. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Sembcorp Marine has apologised to its workers living at Westlite Jalan Tukang Dormitory over issues they have raised, and said it will continue to engage them on their concerns.

The marine and offshore engineering group acknowledged in a statement on Friday (Oct 15) that its workers at the Jurong dormitory had complained about poor hygiene and quality in their catered food, which was provided by an external caterer engaged by the firm.

"The company apologises to our workers for these issues."

The firm also said it has taken the caterer to task and has insisted that the provider strictly adheres to hygiene standards, as well as timeliness in its food delivery.

"(Sembcorp Marine) will continue to monitor this to ensure a high and consistent standard of food hygiene and quality."

Bad food was one of several complaints workers had at the 3,400-bed dormitory, which houses about 1,400 Sembcorp Marine workers.

Other complaints included long delays in transporting workers with Covid-19 to recovery and healthcare facilities amid a steep increase in positive cases detected during the company's mandatory routine testing exercise on its workers in the dorm.

"Arrangements were made to convey the workers. Unfortunately, due to the large numbers, there were delays in conveyance to recovery and healthcare facilities," said the company.

"This led to great unhappiness among both the Covid-positive workers as well as those who tested negative."

Sembcorp Marine said it worked with the Ministry of Manpower's Assurance, Care and Engagement (Ace) group and dormitory operator Westlite to "resolve the logistical challenge" of sending the workers to appropriate care or recovery facilities and address the concerns.

As at Thursday evening, all residents who tested positive have been sent to a care or recovery facility, said Sembcorp Marine.

The company said it will continue regular Covid-19 testing and coordinate closely with Ace and the dormitory operator in Covid-19 testing and management.

"(Sembcorp Marine) appreciates that Ace has been reviewing its processes to ensure that it is able to secure sufficient resources to manage unexpected increases in cases across all dormitories," it added.

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The company has also stepped up its engagement of its workers at Tukang dormitory "given the heightened needs of the past days", it said.

This includes taking in their feedback, as well as explaining the current testing and health management protocols as defined by the authorities, said Sembcorp Marine.

On Friday, Sembcorp Marine chief human resource officer Chua San Lye accompanied Ace chief Tung Yui Fai during his visit to the dorm to assure workers that their concerns were being resolved.

"The safety and well-being of our workers are our foremost concern," said Sembcorp Marine.

"The company has taken measures to protect their health and safety, and will continue to do so."

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