[Update Oct 19] A spokesperson from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) told AsiaOne that they were "investigating into the issues raised by the workers", which include a "discretionary bonus purportedly not given by the employer as well as other employment and salary-related matters".
The ministry also advised other affected workers to approach MOM if they require assistance.
With the pandemic affecting many industries, inevitably the slowdown in business has also affected the workers themselves — one of whom has taken to social media to shed light on his circumstances.
On Tuesday (Oct 13), solah5817 posted a TikTok video, where he and his colleagues were engaged in a seemingly heated debate with their boss. The video's accompanying caption wrote, "We only want what is rightfully ours."
In just two days, the 84-second video garnered over 455,000 views and 13,000 likes — and was also reposted on other Facebook groups such as Complaint Singapore. It is not known where and when this video was taken.
In the video, the boss, wearing a blue shirt, can be heard talking to the TikToker and a group of four visible men wearing construction jumpsuits and yellow helmets. "You don't like to work never mind, can go back," the boss said.
One of the workers then interrupted him in Malay, "People that have just joined have not received their salary."
Increasingly frustrated, his boss said: "Maybe on Thursday I let you know the outcome... I cannot say I pay or I don't pay. I will see what I can do to help you and help myself. We must move along."
Not satisfied with his response, the workers replied, "Even those [who] have gone back also not settled [sic]."
At this point, the boss seems to become increasingly unsettled, and reiterates his earlier point: "You don't like that like that [sic]. Not happy never mind, go back to Malaysia. I welcome you to work, but if you're not happy with me then never mind."
He also refuses his workers' request to provide documentation in "black and white", insisting that he will pay them "on the third week of this month".
The boss then disengages from the conversation while another man in a white construction jumpsuit tells everyone that the boss "will settle it" — and mockingly tells the TikToker to "continue to record".
Seemingly still heated from the exchange, the boss then turns back and said, "If you wanna play politician then go back to Malaysia and do it."
AsiaOne has reached out to the boss in the video for comment.
Netizens show their support for the workers
In the TikTok comments section, many stood on the side of the workers, and encouraged them to bring the situation up to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
AsiaOne has reached out to MOM and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management for comment.