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Tay Hong Yi
The Straits Times
October 18, 2022
A group of nine foreign workers allegedly blocked the entrance and exit of an Ang Mo Kio building on Tuesday afternoon over unpaid wages.
In an 18-second video posted on Facebook group Singapore Incidents, five of the nine could be seen holding up pieces of paper, which were printed with Chinese text that variously named renovation firm Shanghai Chong Kee, “repay debts owed” and “money owed unpaid”.
A caption accompanying the post said the workers claimed they were owed three months of unpaid salary and had used a lorry to block the main entrance of the NCS Hub building.
Some were also seen speaking with police officers subsequently in the video.
The police told The Straits Times that it received a call for assistance at 5 Ang Mo Kio Street 62 at about 1.50pm on Tuesday.
The address is where NCS Hub is located.
The police said that the nine men, who allegedly blocked the entrance and exit of a building there, were aged between 28 and 54, adding that they complied when told by police officers to cease their activity.
No arrests were made. The men are currently assisting in police investigations for the offence of participating in a public assembly without a permit.
The police added that those found guilty of taking part in a public assembly without a permit under the Public Order Act can be fined up to $3,000.
It also reminded the public that organising or participating in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore is illegal and constitutes an offence under the act.
A database administrator, who wanted to be known only as Mr Murali, said he was walking out of the building for lunch at about 2pm when he saw the truck blocking the entrance.
Mr Murali, 38, said he saw a security officer taking photos of the truck, as well as five men holding up the pieces of paper, around whom a crowd of spectators comprising about 20 NCS employees and construction workers, who were seemingly uninvolved, had gathered.
“I asked another construction worker who seemed to be with (the five men) in Tamil what was happening and he said they had not gotten their wages for three months.”
In response to queries, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it was alerted by the police of an incident on Tuesday involving workers from Zhengda Corporation over salary claims.
“MOM and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) are assisting the workers.
“The workers have been assured of the help by MOM and TADM, and have returned calmly to their dormitories.”
Mr Harry Tan, managing director of Shanghai Chong Kee, told The Straits Times that the nine workers are not employees of the firm, who is the main contractor for renovations to the NCS Hub lobby.
Zhengda Corporation was a sub-contractor for the project that supplied six workers - four Chinese and two Bangladeshis - from Aug 4 to Sept 27, he said.
He added that Shanghai Chong Kee has already arranged for full payment of Zhengda Corporation for its services by Oct 24, even though the sub-contractor failed to submit its payment claim on time.
“NCS does not owe Shanghai Chong Kee any money and this is a dispute between us and our subcontractors.
“The above situation with Zhengda Corporation has been resolved amicably between us.”