The Straits Times has reported that the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) would be urging local authorities to take "stern action" against an employer after observing hygiene and safety lapses in workers' dormitories run by him.

According to the report, the foundation discovered these lapses following a visit to the two worker dormitories at Geylang Lorong 13 and 17 on Sunday (13 Aug), just after midnight.

Some of the lapses identified included filthy common areas and sleeping quarters that were poorly ventilated and infested with roaches and bedbugs; inadequate sanitary facilities, with about a dozen workers sharing a single toilet and shower in each unit; and housing more workers in each unit than the eight allowed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

It was earlier reported on the plight of these Bangladeshi workers, who were stuck in limbo as they have had their work permits cancelled while their salary claims are being handled.

In the report, MWC also found that the employer had been cooking meals for his entire workforce at the Lorong 13 unit. It’s been reported that the employer is also a permanent resident from Bangladesh who controls three construction companies which hire the workers.

During its visit, the MWC found more than 100 packets of the next day's breakfast and lunch already cooked and prepared.

MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kuang said: "The workers at both premises told our officers that the employer charges each worker $130 per month for the catered food, despite the fact that meals were frequently unconsumable due to having gone bad.”

He added that this was "unacceptable" given the "fire and health hazard" of having industrial catering in close proximity of workers' sleeping quarters.

Yeo added that there was a " blatant disregard for the potentially disastrous consequences" should an incident of fire or disease occur at the units. He also said that that the MWC would be putting the employer "on notice" having obtained photographic evidence of the lapses.

He said the MWC will give its findings to the authorities, and urge stern action against the employer "as a clear message of deterrence to other unscrupulous and exploitative employers."

Photo / 123RF