Friday, May 16, 2008

Protect the workers; put the greedy employers behind bar!

I read about this yesterday:

Amid the disastrous cyclone in myanmar and earthquake in china, it makes me feel more angry reading about such human behavior!

It is a classic case of the rich wants to get richer. Well well... rich and poor are relative terms aren't they? This is not the first time news about employers mistreating the employees broke out in Singapore. There is a very strict set of law preventing criminal acts. But there's none, to my disbelief, that would protect the basic rights of the workers.

In the case of yesterday's news, an employer get around the employment pass (EP) system by hiring workers from oversea, promise them the minimum pay under an EP, which is S$2,500, but pay them only $800. The workers are 'housed in a small and windowless room at the back of the restaurant packed with about 20 workers.' Their meals were also sub-standard. 'We got the yellowing vegetables that they could not serve to guests. And meat such as duck's head that was a day old,' said the worker who brought this into the open.

The punishment for employers who're convicted of wrongdoing? According to the report, "Between January and September last year, 52 employers were prosecuted and fined between $1,500 and $5,000 for cheating the system."

I remember reading news that petty crimes like shoplifting can bring a jail sentence. I doubt any employer, especially those richer ones, will be deterred by a mere $5,000 fine.

And the real crime is not in cheating the system, it is really in violating human rights, and breaking the labor law.

It is time to rethink about the punishment. I say let's put these sicko employers in jail!

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