Unpaid Wages: Labour Dept warns companies

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Over 200 foreign workers, who had gathered at the Berakas Police Station last Saturday to lodge a report over unpaid wages and were involved in a minor commotion on Monday in Tutong, have finally received part of their unpaid wages, according to the Labour Department at the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday, Borneo Bulletin reported.

The Borneo Bulletin had reported the two incidents on July 8 and 11 and the Department of Labour responded to the news stories through a press release.

Following the incidents that garnered the attention of other agencies including the Royal Brunei Police Force involving two construction firms, the Labour Department issued a warning to employers and the general public that wages by right should be paid on time and delayed wages contravenes Section 39 of the Employment Order, 2009 whereby any person found guilty of such an offence or any regulations under it is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both.

The department explained that though what is due has not been paid in full, the 209 foreigners have been issued their back dated wages for the month of May and overtime payment for the months of April and May totalling $89,153.80 and the workers are still owed wages for the month of June including overtime.

The management of the two private institutions “have agreed to make payment for the remaining month as soon as possible”, stated the press release.

It was stated that out of 209 foreign workers involved in the dispute, 117 of the workers are employed with Brumas Gravels (B) Sdn Bhd and the other 92 are employed with PBT Engineering Sdn Bhd.

Owned by locals and foreigners, the two companies are involved in government projects under the Construction and Completion of Semi-Detached Houses and Terrace Houses under the National Housing Scheme in Bukit Beruang, Tutong.

“The Department of Labour will ensure that such payment will be furnished by the companies in question and should the company fail to do so, legal action will be taken,” stressed the government enforcement agency and added that personnel “will monitor the status of the issue from time to time”.

More information and enquiries on any labour matters, meanwhile, can be directed to the Department of Labour through their hotline at 2381848.

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