They didn’t have a choice…

MRT Train

Every day we travel to work, school or play either by road or rail. But have we stopped to think about how these transport infrastructure came about?

Sure, lots of planning would have gone into making these roads and rail-tracks possible for us to travel on at the drawing board. But who does the not-so-admirable work of constructing roads and rail-tracks? Our migrant workers.

construction

They leave their families and hometowns in search of money and a better life. But more often than not, the better life that they expected, might just end up bad… real bad.

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Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) – a non-government organisation which champions for migrant workers’ rights – raided a cramped house in Selegie Road in Nov 2014 and found more than 50 migrant workers living in the two-room apartment.

This is not the only case of employment malpractice. There are some that are even worse. Some migrant workers have previously been refused financial help for medical treatment after they sustained injuries at his work site.

Thankfully, the MWC was started by the bipartite efforts of the NTUC and the Singapore National Employers’ Federation (SNEF) to help distressed migrant workers in 2009.

Apart from responding to employment malpractices that gets reported to them, the centre also organises activities for migrant workers to participate in and integrate into society. In a way, the MWC provides some form of protection for these workers.

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Another group of workers that need some form of protection are foreign domestic workers (or more commonly known to us as maids).

Again, these workers take care of our domestic needs which allow many of us to go back to work without having to worry about who’s going to look after the children, elderly parents or who’s going to do the household chores.

Just yesterday (6 December 2015), outstanding foreign domestic workers were honoured for their hard work at an awards ceremony, which also saw an employer receiving the Foreign Domestic Worker Employer of the Year Award.

Collectively, these foreign workers, leave their countries in search of a better life. Many come to make a living so that they can remit money home to give their loved ones a better life.

International Migrant’s Day falls on 18 December 2016 this year. Would you do something to appreciate this special group of workers?

 

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Arthur Lee

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