Singapore’s migrant workers, human beings who leave their families for several years at a time in order to support loved ones back home. Life is hard, working for long hours for little pay under dangerous working conditions in primarily construction and cleaning jobs. With no minimum wage to protect them, workers are vulnerable to exploitation and tolerate life in Singapore because they have a duty to provide for their families.
Migrant workers are drawn to Singapore to earn money to support their families, on a promise of a better life. Workers typically pay private agents from US$6000-$10000 to secure a job and visa. With an average wage of $15 a day, without working overtime it would take two years to pay this back. With this large debt looming over them, they often accept unsafe working conditions and are too afraid to speak out.
Workers are accommodated 12 to a room and 6 to a bathroom in dormitories hidden away on the outskirts of town. The labour camps have barbed wire fences, high security, automatic gates, and no visitors are permitted.
Singapore has a strict seatbelt law, but makes an exception for migrant workers, who are transported much like cattle in the back of pick-up trucks. It is not cost effective to provide safe transport for workers due to the size of the workforce.
Work shifts are 10-12 hours, 6-7 days a week. The Indian and Bangladeshi workers have Sunday as their rest day, and often spend it at Little India. This is the site of a riot that broke out in November 2013, an anomaly in Singaporean history. This riot was a sign to many that the migrant worker population is unsatisfied with their conditions.
These are video messages between the workers in Singapore and their families in Bangladesh.
More about the issue can be found on the Guardian.