China construction firm fined for paying workers late

A Singapore civil defense force officer (R) assists a mainland Chinese worker down from a crane after protesting at a construction site in Singapore on December 6, 2012. A Singapore court on Thursday sentenced two Chinese workers to four weeks in jail each for staging a high-rise protest atop construction cranes in December, local media reported

The China construction company that hit the news last December when two of its workers climbed up a crane to demand back wages pleaded guilty Thursday to eight counts of failure to pay salaries on time.

In a statement, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that it fined Zhong Jiang (Singapore) International for the eight counts under section 34 of the Employment Act (EA) for failing to pay its workers’ salaries within seven days after the last day of the salary period. Another 17 charges were taken into consideration when determining the sentence.

MOM investigated Zhong Jiang after two workers from mainland China, Zhu Guilei and Wu Xiaolin, staged a sit-in atop construction cranes their worksite and alleged that their employer had withheld their salaries.

The probe into Zhong Jiang’s employment practices showed that between September and November 2012, the company had failed to make timely salary payments.

Specifically, the company had “delayed salary payments by periods ranging from about one to three weeks” instead of paying the salaries “within seven days after the end of a salary period” as required under the EA.

Regarding the alleged withholding of the salaries of Zhu and Wu, the ministry found the PRC nationals “were not yet due for payment at the time of the incident”.

The two workers were instead found “guilty of criminal trespass last month and jailed for four weeks each”, it said.

MOM also reminded employers on their responsibility “to pay workers’ salaries on time” and that it will “not hesitate to prosecute” if they decide to violate the law.

Furthermore, workers facing employment issues should approach MOM and “not take matters into their own hands”.

For lodging of salary claims, workers can do so by contacting MOM’s labour relations and workplaces division at 6438 5122 or email at