Technical officer recovers close to $10,000 owed, thanks to mediation

Workers work in a building construction site in Singapore in September 2020.
Workers work in a building construction site in Singapore in September 2020.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - With the end of his two-year contract looming, a Singaporean technical officer who was employed by a consultancy firm in the construction sector was getting worried.

His employer owed him close to $10,000 and was unresponsive to his queries.

The man had not received about $5,000 in overtime pay from December last year to February this year, as well as a bonus of about $4,000 for working on a project from start to end.

The technical officer, who gave his name as Mr Abdul Rahim, filed a salary claim at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) in March.

The TADM mediator reviewed his salary claims with both parties over the phone and e-mail, avoiding face-to-face mediation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The employer agreed to pay up, but when Mr Rahim, 54, was about to collect the cheque, Malaysia issued the movement control order.

He was working on a housing project in Malaysia at the time and living there, so he was unable to come to Singapore to collect the cheque.

The TADM mediator contacted the employer for an alternative payment arrangement, and the employer agreed to deposit the cheque on Mr Rahim's behalf.

Mr Rahim said that he felt happy to receive the settlement within a month.

"The mediator was friendly and impartial and listened to both parties. He helped me and my employer resolve the dispute amicably," he said.

"I even recommended to my friend that he approach TADM for his salary disputes too, instead of going to a lawyer."