TL;DR – Recognising the contributions of migrant workers in Singapore.
18 December is International Migrants Day and the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) organised its International Migrants Day Celebrations at Terusan Recreation Centre on Sunday, 16 December.
The event was attended by 5,000 migrant workers representing different dormitories.
The MWC International Migrants Day (IMD) celebrations were organised to recognise migrant workers for their positive contributions to Singapore. With a “health and safety” theme, activity booths were on site to provide migrant workers with health and wellness advice. In addition to being treated to a concert, they also participated in a 3km run and walk, mass exercise and various sports competitions such as cricket, futsal, carom, darts and volleyball.
At the event, MWC also shared updates on the assistance rendered to displaced migrant workers in 2018. These are workers with proven salary claims, but whose employers are unable to pay back their salary arrears. Given their particular vulnerability, MWC hand-holds these workers in navigating the claims process. This includes providing emotional support, and providing for practical needs such as shelter, meals and transport.
In one case, the MWC assisted a group of 27 workers who were owed betweeneight to 12 months of salary. The company director had filed for bankruptcy and theworkers were evicted from their places of accommodation due to unpaid dormitory bills.
Called in upon their sudden eviction, MWC responded to the case and proceeded to find shelter, provide meals and EZ Link card top-ups for transport, facilitate consultations with volunteer lawyers and assist the affected workers in finding new employment.
The MWC paid out ex gratia assistance totalling $30,000 to the migrant workers who were unable to fully recover their salary claims. This was to help them meet urgent financial needs, like critical family living expenses which had been severely delayed by their salary problems.
In 2018, the MWC has to-date housed more than 530 displaced migrant workers. It has also provided more than 87,000 meals and financial assistance, totalling more than $500,000 from the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund. This is double the amount given last year.