Police called in heated dispute about unpaid wages

by Miklos Bolza11 Jan 2016
Former workers from Singapore River Explorer have confronted their employer about unpaid wages, leading to dramatic scenes where police had to intervene.
 
Singapore River Explorer was a joint venture between two firms: Leisure Empire and Global Yellow Pages. The subsidiary ran river taxi services until its three-year licence expired and operations ceased on 31 December 2015. All 75 staff were subsequently let go.
 
Mr Lim Siong Kheng, the supervisor, claimed staff weren’t paid termination fees which ranged from one week’s to one month’s wages. This pay had been due on Thursday.
 
Other employees were apparently also owed overtime pay and salaries for December. In total, the 75 employees were owed at least $100,000.
 
This led to a heated discussion at the company’s Tai Seng office last Friday (8 January) when forty staff confronted the director of Leisure Empire, Nelson Goh, accusing him of failing to sign their pay cheques and other related documents.
 
They ultimately left the office after Mr Goh’s staff notified the police.
 
Sixteen of the employees were Chinese nationals who flew home on the weekend after their work permits were cancelled. Singapore River Explorer paid these individuals their wages in cash a few hours after the confrontation.
 
These unpaid wages and terminations stem from a dispute between Leisure Empire and Global Yellow Pages about alleged irregular transactions.
 
Talking to reporters after the confrontation, Mr Goh said he was unwilling to sign the pay cheques as they required signatures from both companies. The joint account with OCBC belonging to Leisure Empire and Global Yellow Pages had also been frozen since last November.
 
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