Food workers union announces plans to unionise Twelve Cupcakes

SINGAPORE – The Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) announced on Tuesday (Feb 16) plans to unionise pastry chain Twelve Cupcakes, which had underpaid its foreign employees for nearly two years.

Since late last year, the National Trades Union Congress affiliated organisation had engaged Twelve Cupcakes’ employees and management with the intent of unionising the company.

“This is so that the union can represent and speak up for the employees, and work with the management to educate on the fair employment legislation and practices, and their responsibilities and care towards their employees’ welfare,” said FDAWU general secretary Tan Hock Soon.

He added that the FDAWU seeks to protect employees of Twelve Cupcakes and partner with the bakery’s management to “recover from this episode”.

On Feb 4, the confectionery company’s co-founder Jaime Teo Chai-lin pleaded guilty to underpaying foreign staff while she was director of the company.

The former model and her ex-husband Daniel Ong Ming Yu, a co-founder of Twelve Cupcakes, each faced 24 charges of breaching employment laws on Dec 29 last year.

The court heard on Feb 4 that arrears in salary totalling $98,000, from the years that the company was under their ownership, remained outstanding.

Teo will return to court on Feb 25, while Ong has a court date in March.

In 2016, Teo and Ong sold Twelve Cupcakes for $2.5 million to Kolkata-based Dhunseri Group.

The company, under its new owners, was fined $119,500 on Jan 12 for underpaying seven of its foreign employees, including one worker who received only about half the wages at times.

The staff were repaid the salaries they were owed.

Mr Tan said employees of the bakery who need workplace assistance are encouraged to approach the FDAWU.

Many companies in the hospitality and food services sectors have been hard hit by the impact of Covid-19, he added.

“The union remains committed to engaging both the managements and workers to uplift their businesses and workforce, while guiding them out of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Tan.

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