Work pass privileges of Singapore Ambulance Association suspended after failure to pay COVID-19 vaccinators
SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will take action against the Singapore Ambulance Association (SAA) and "associated businesses and persons" after the company "persisted in not making payments" to vaccinators at a COVID-19 vaccination centre.
"Based on our enquiries, we will be holding the following individuals accountable for the current situation: Mr Eugene Tok Yong Fa and Mr Whey Zhen Hui," said MOM and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).
"MOM will suspend their work pass privileges as well as for all their associated companies," added the spokesperson on Wednesday (Sep 15) in a reply to CNA's queries.
"Action may also be taken against a third individual, Dr Tan Ying Zhou, pending further investigations."
Since July, TADM has been engaging 15 vaccinators who filed claims over salaries owed by SAA.
The spokesperson said that MOM set a "final deadline" of Sep 11 for the company to respond, but to date, it has yet to pay the affected workers.
"Given that SAA has been uncooperative and persisted in not making payments after more than two months of engagement, TADM and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) have worked behind the scenes to assist the 15 affected vaccinators," the spokesperson said.
They will have their outstanding payments settled by Parkway Shenton "on a goodwill basis" instead. It is the healthcare group running the vaccination centre where they worked.
Others who find themselves in the same plight are encouraged to approach MOM and TADM for help.
"MOM does not condone SAA's irresponsible behaviour. We have fully expected SAA as well as associated businesses and individuals to settle the payments for the vaccinators, and are disappointed that they have not done so in a timely manner," said the spokesperson.
"It has been a difficult time for the vaccinators, who had worked in the frontlines but were not paid for their services," added the spokesperson.
Parkway Shenton's "goodwill payment" will be equivalent to what is owed to the workers, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng said in a Facebook post.
This is despite Parkway Shenton having already paid their subcontractor, added Mr Ng.
The 15 affected workers - many of whom are students - were engaged as vaccinators and nurses at the Bukit Timah Community Club vaccination centre.
"Such actions by errant employers (who are subcontractors of Parkway Shenton) are not acceptable," said Mr Ng, adding that NTUC worked with MOM and Parkway Shenton to provide assistance to the workers.
"Parkway Shenton CEO Edmund Kwok, together with staff from NTUC and MOM had met some of the affected workers and gave them his commitment to provide them a goodwill payment (equivalent to what is owed to them) soon," he added.
He also said the affected workers were "visibly grateful and relieved" for the help.
"We will pursue all levers to deal with errant employers such as the Singapore Ambulance Association who have clearly not done right by these workers," he added.