I would like to applaud the authorities for clamping down on companies that have mistreated their foreign workers. As a local, I am both proud of the efforts as well as dismayed by the lack of similar “protection” for local employees, especially those working in the private sector.
Having worked in the private sector for the past decade, I have seen my fair share of unfair practices, such as purposely employing overly-qualified individuals to man tasks that are even beneath a high school graduate at a measly salary, and making staff work on public holidays without compensation.
In my opinion, these practices have been more widespread following the pandemic now that these companies can use it as an excuse to short-change their staff. Take for example a friend, who works for a medium enterprise. She has been working overtime almost every day as well as most weekends. The reason given is that the company has just signed up for a huge project and that employing more staff would not be feasible since they need to be trained first. As a result, she and her colleagues have been slaving away in the office, knowing that there would be no monetary compensation at the end of it.
Then, there was a company that I used to work for, where the human resource manager would find any way to cut our salaries, be it showing up a minute late or making a mistake in the report. However, when we asked for overtime payments, she would tell us to focus on making the company successful instead of worrying about “personal gains”.
I believe it is high time that the authorities take a closer look at these companies and find ways to safeguard the local workforce.