Migrant Workers Squeezed On Lorry Use Umbrellas During Heavy Rain
The transportation of Singapore’s migrant workers using lorries has garnered significant debate in the past month.
Critics point to the safety risks of such a transportation method, which has resulted in significant accidents and injuries.
An Instagram video showing a group of migrant workers on a lorry using umbrellas to seek shelter from the heavy rain only fuelled the debate further.
Many in the comments urged the Government to take steps to improve migrant worker transportation.
Migrant workers on lorry use umbrellas to block rain
Instagram page Singapore Incidents uploaded the video today (22 Aug). In the captions, they implored the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to improve the treatment of migrant workers.
The video showed a group of migrant workers in the back of a lorry on the move. Outside, rain appeared to pour heavily.
The rainstorm, falling at an angle due to strong winds, spares the workers closer to the front of the covered lorry.
However, those near the rear end of the lorry, which had no covering, were not so lucky. With nowhere to hide, they resorted to opening two collapsible umbrellas to shield themselves from the rain.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a smooth process — one of the workers struggled to open his umbrella, which ended up bending the wrong way.
With some help from his buddy seated next to him, the migrant workers were eventually able to pull the umbrella back into shape.
Netizens call for transportation of workers on buses
The video elicited much sympathy from its viewers, and drew just as much criticism.
According to The Straits Times, the Government had previously declined to ban the transportation of migrant workers on lorries, citing the operational complexities employers face and the falling number of lorry accidents.
But seeing the workers’ plight in the video apparently tugged at viewers’ heartstrings. One pointed out that the workers who built the shelters to keep Singaporeans dry had no shelter for themselves.
Another criticised the Government’s lack of urgency in addressing the issue and suggested that politicians try the transportation mode themselves to understand the workers’ conditions.
Across the board, the sentiment seemed to be that companies should switch to ferrying workers in buses.
Migrant workers deserve good treatment
While the situational realities behind using a lorry are certainly complex, more Singaporeans seem to be taking the side of the workers in this situation.
The issue has long invited criticisms from various parties including former diplomat Tommy Koh. Mr Koh had controversially accused employers of opposing the lorry ban for the sake of profits.
“[Workers] should be treated in the same way as we treat ourselves,” he wrote on Facebook. “We require all persons to have seats and seat belts. This should be extended to our workers.”
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Featured image adapted from @singapore_incidents on Instagram.
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