News @ AsiaOne

'They have a lot of terms and conditions'

TNP reporters find a problem of worker shortage at hawker stalls in five estates. -TNP

Wed, Nov 07, 2012
The New Paper

SINGAPORE - All over Singapore, hawker stalls are suffering the same plight - a shortage of manpower.


Things looked bleak at Sin Huat Lee Restaurant at Block 371, Bukit Batok Street 31. Four of the nine stalls had signs looking for stall assistants.

Mr Xie, a 40-something who owns a stall selling fish soup, said he has no choice but to be a one-man show.

Pointing to a sign on a wall, he lamented: "This sign has been here for two to three years. It's been so long, the paper has turned yellow."


Mr Anton Tan, who runs Uggli Muffins at the Food Centre at Block 127, Toa Payoh Lorong 1, has advertised for helpers not just at his stall but also in the newspapers.

He said: "It's really frustrating. Some people said they'll come for an interview and don't turn up. Others hang up when I tell them the working hours are from 6am to 4pm."


In Yishun, several hawker stalls are looking for workers.

The boss of Joo Hoong Seafood at Blissful Food City Coffee Shop, Mr Sia Fook Seng, 52, needs a female worker for his stall. He said that many Singaporeans are not keen on hawker jobs.

"They'll have to work long hours. Many of them want days off. They have a lot of terms and conditions. It's hard to find a willing person," said Mr Sia.


Madam Ang, 50, is struggling to keep her Jian Bo Shui Kueh stall in Tiong Bahru Market afloat. Left with only one helper, she put up a poster at her stall to look for more workers. She received some calls but no takers.

Said Madam Ang: "Singaporeans want to sleep until 8, but by 8 we've started work. I beg you to let us hire foreigners."


At least three eateries were looking to hire more workers.

Since opening in May, Sandwich Saigon, a Vietnamese cafe, has been trying to hire workers. Its owner, Mr Andrew Chu, 45, said: "Which local would want to work long hours for low salary?"

- Reporting by Tanya Augustine, Kerri Heng, Jazlyn Koo, Ng Ching Peng, Audrey Tan

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