SINGAPORE — To ensure that foreign domestic workers (FDWs) get more avenues of help when they need it, the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) has launched a mobile kiosk that will be deployed in areas where they congregate.
For a start, the kiosk, named the Mobile CDE, will be deployed for at least two Sundays a month, so that advice relating to foreign domestic employment issues is more accessible to FDWs, as well as their employers if they need it.
Manned by two to three employees each time, the kiosk will be set up at places such as the area around Paya Lebar MRT station, Toa Payoh Town Park, Ang Mo Kio Garden East and Coleman Street.
Minister of State (Manpower) Sam Tan, who launched the initiative yesterday at Paya Lebar, stressed the importance of FDWs having easy access to help.
“While most of our FDWs are settling in well here, a small number of them may run into difficulties,” he said. “We’ve informed all FDWs on their rights and how they can get help, such as calling the Ministry of Manpower FDW hotline. The Mobile CDE is another avenue for FDWs to seek advice and assistance.”
This year, to date, there have been more than 200 calls and walk-ins by FDWs needing assistance.
The CDE, an initiative under the National Trades Union Congress and set up in January, offers services such as a free legal clinic, information on the rights of FDWs and a referral service for training courses, among others.
CDE chairman Yeo Guat Kwang noted that the large FDW community of more than 230,000 needs a “many-helping-hands approach”.
“It’s important for us to see how we can reach out further. When they do have trouble, they should know where they can seek help,” he said.
“With the CDE platform, we can work with all the stakeholders, and it’s also important to reach out to employers. With our outreach recently, we understand that some employers aren’t quite clear of the duties and responsibilities of domestic helpers.”
Ms Elizabeth Laas, 54, who has been working in Singapore for 20 years, said this service is especially helpful for FDWs who are not allowed to use mobile phones.
Ms Mulyasthti Sardjiman, 38, added: “Now there are a lot of cases of (unfair) working conditions. When I first started working here, I had problems.
“An employer didn’t give me days off, and another didn’t allow me to have a mobile phone and to contact my family. At that time, I didn’t know where to go for help. But now, I do.”
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