ANZA ACTION: Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) promotes fair treatment for migrant workers. Debbie Fordyce tells their story.
Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) sees about 2,000 cases a year. The most common issues workers bring are: work injuries, salary non-payment, and premature termination.
More than half of the caseload relates to work injuries. Workers seek TWC2’s help when they face:
- Difficulties obtaining medical treatment even though it is the employer’s responsibility to provide;
- Employers denying that the accident ever happened, and covering up;
- Delays and hurdles in the disability assessment and compensation process;
- Unpaid medical leave wages.
Moreover, the assessment and compensation process often stretches a year or more, far longer than the medical leave given by doctors. In the post-medical leave months, workers have neither job nor entitlement to medical leave wages, leaving them financially desperate.
TWC2’s direct services can be grouped under the following headings:
‘SOCIAL WORKER ALWAYS THERE’ (SWAT): Our social workers, supported by interns and volunteer case assistants, provide advice to workers and help them navigate the bureaucracy in seeking case resolution. We liaise with employers, doctors, the police, and the Ministry of Manpower on their behalf.
OUTREACH: Led by social workers, volunteers fan out to various parts of Singapore monthly to distribute flyers (in 11 languages) to migrant workers.
THE CUFF ROAD PROJECT: TWC2 operates a free meal programme for workers who are out of work because of injury, salary dispute or other reasons. We serve breakfast and dinner each weekday, and lunch on Saturday. An average of 500-600 workers eat with us daily.
The meal station also serves as a contact point between our social workers, volunteers and our beneficiaries, to share a friendly word, see how their cases are progressing and offer advice about how to manage the claim or complaint.
ROAD TO RECOVERY: Volunteers are on hand to visit patients in hospital, or chaperone workers when they go for follow-up appointments, particularly those with mobility difficulties or are anxious over surgery. We ensure that they get proper medical attention and help explain to them their prescriptions, diagnosis and prognosis.
PROJECT ROOF & DAYSPACE: Male workers who are badly injured or destitute receive subsidies from TWC2, enabling them to rent a hostel bunk. We also have a drop-in centre called DaySpace which doubles as an emergency shelter for men.
WEDNESDAY CLINIC: Volunteers with a background in law are on hand to assist workers whose cases are headed to administrative tribunals for adjudication. They help clients get their evidence and documentation in order and prepare them for presenting their arguments. Volunteers also scout for pro-bono lawyers when legal representation is needed.
How Can You Help?
You can help out at the Cuff Road Project, or help with attending appointments, if you have legal training you could help at the Wednesday clinics, or get together with your work mates, a club, or your friends and have a cricket day in the park or provide an outing for the workers.