Twelve Cupcakes' workers to join union following secret vote

The Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) yesterday announced its successful unionisation of Twelve Cupcakes, after its current and former owners came under fire for underpaying foreign staff.

The move was taken after the majority of the pastry chain's workers voted for it in a secret ballot administered by the Ministry of Manpower.

The union, which is affiliated to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), will work closely with the management to improve workers' well-being at the workplace, uplift wages and upskill the workers in preparation for the economy's recovery, said FDAWU general-secretary Tan Hock Soon.

"This resounding victory reaffirms the workers' desire for the union to improve their welfare and work prospects."

Mr Tan added: "Representing more than 55,000 workers currently, FDAWU endeavours to partner more food and beverage companies and workers to uplift both business and workforce while helping them recover from the impact of Covid-19."

In a Facebook post yesterday, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng thanked the team at FDAWU as well as NTUC staff who visited the Twelve Cupcakes outlets around Singapore to speak to the workers about the unionisation exercise.

"This is just the beginning, I am confident that the union will provide both the management and workers with the relevant assistance moving forward," he said.

Meanwhile, Twelve Cupcakes' co-founder Jamie Teo Chai-Lin will be sentenced next month for failing to prevent the company from underpaying its foreign staff.

The entertainment artiste as well as her co-founder and then husband Daniel Ong Ming Yu face charges for underpaying the wages of seven staff between 2013 and 2016.

Arrears in salary totalling $98,900, from the years that the company was under their ownership, remain outstanding to date.

Teo pleaded guilty on Feb 4 to 10 counts of the offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Another 14 charges will be considered during sentencing.

Ong, a former radio deejay, faces 24 charges under the Act and his case was adjourned to March 2.

An offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $10,000 for each charge.

The pastry chain, under its current owner, Kolkata-based company Dhunseri Group, was fined $119,500 on Jan 12 for underpaying seven foreign employees in 2017 and 2018.