Mustafa Centre Won’t Renew Work Passes: Buys Foreign Workers Return Ticket, Gives 1-Mth Salary

COVID-19 has badly affected shopping mall Mustafa Centre.
In April, the mall was identified as a COVID-19 cluster and was forced to shut down. Its supermarket section reopened a month later in May, but it has yet to resume its regular 24-hour operating hours due to high operational costs and lack of cashflow.
Beyond the month-long closure, Mustafa Centre is also reeling from the impact of COVID-19 due to falling footfall.
In a letter to its employees dated 27 August 2020, Mustaq Ahmad, managing director and founder of Mustafa Centre, said that “business has been affected badly”.
Due to reduced operating hours and strict safe-distancing measures at the mall, Mustafa Centre has been unable to recall all of its employees back to work.
We have been paying sustenance allowance of $300/- from June 2020 for employees who have not been called to work. The sustenance allowance will end in September 2020.
… We have taken serious efforts to reduce our spending and sustain throughout this situation. Despite this, it is necessary for the Company to reduce our payroll costs. We will have to discontinue the sustenance allowance with effect from 1st October 2020.
He further urged all employees who have not been called back to work to take on a second employment to earn an income.
Mustafa Centre is currently working with the Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers Union, e2i and NTUC Job Security Council, to help them find jobs.
In fact, many of their employees are already finding different job opportunities. On that end, Mustafa Centre has waived the notice period and will be awarding them a one-month basic salary as a “token” of appreciation.
In the letter, Mr Mustaq said that “it will take a longer time than expected” for business to return to pre-COVID-19 condition as international borders remain closed.
Due to the current business situation, Mr Mustaq also said they are unable to renew the passes of its foreign workers.
“We will repatriate them with a return ticket home and a month’s basic salary as a token.”
“We regret to have to resort to these decisions but hope that business will come back to normal as soon as possible,” he added.
Featured Image Credit: Tokio Marine / Kelman Chiang
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