People of TAL
Mediator, Foreign Workers Mediation
The most challenging part of my work happens when meetings become emotionally charged. Facts are easy to deal with, but everything changes when people become agitated and unreasonable.
I once dealt with an employer who was somewhat aggressive towards his worker. When the worker rejected his settlement proposal, I informed the employer that I could not force the worker to accept his proposal. The employer became angry and threatened to go to the media to “expose” how a TADM Officer was helping workers to cheat a local company.
At that moment, I was a little taken aback by his accusation, but I didn’t show it. Instead, I asked him to repeat what he had said. I also cautioned him that his allegations were very serious and there were witnesses. He immediately backtracked by saying he was not talking about me, and that he was merely stating a hypothetical situation. Seeing how he had backed down, I then brought his attention back to the case, and asked if he wanted to make a new proposal. He immediately doubled the amount that he was willing to repay his worker, and this was eventually accepted by the worker.
Workers can also react emotionally. Some have paid quite a large amount of money to agents to secure their jobs in Singapore and are working hard to pay off their debts, while also supporting their family in their home country. Unfortunately, when it becomes clear that their employers are terminating their contracts, they become very distressed. As a Mediator, we have to find the right balance between showing empathy, but also remaining impartial and fair to both workers and employers. At the same time, employers are sometimes also under financial stress.
Occasionally, there will be challenging and stressful situations. It’s important not to take things personally, and not to let emotions affect my judgement. What also helps is the strong sense of camaraderie in our office. My colleagues are always ready to help one another out, and we learn from our collective experiences.
Despite its challenges, mediation is a fulfilling experience that allows me to help both parties resolve their disputes and make a positive contribution to their lives.
We are looking for motivated and committed individuals who are keen to make a positive difference and contribute towards the building of progressive workplaces and harmonious work relations in Singapore.