When some 300 enquiries and applications poured in, brand and communications manager Gregg Lewis back peddled and qualified the original offer by saying the dishwashers will need to slave/work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week - from 10.30am to 10.30pm - with breaks to come up for oxygen. This differed significantly from the 9 hours that Sakae Sushi chief Douglas Foo told UFM 100.3 radio on Friday, and subsequently confirmed with Chinese paper Lianhe Wanbao, when he claimed that he had trouble filling 10 cleaning positions at $3,000 per month. Foo said the earlier description of the job had been amended after the management found that a 9-hour workday was not feasible due to crowd volumes the restaurant faced. What he did not say was what his present crew of cleaners are actually paid. Fooled you again!
However creative Sakae Sushi may be in attempting to wriggle out of a public relations disaster, and possible outright lie, there are laws in Singapore about working hours:
The law also specifically stipulates that an employee is permitted only to work up to a limit of 72 hours of overtime in a month. This limit may be exceeded only if the Ministry of Manpower has granted an exemption under section 38 of the Employment Act. In other words, Sakae Sushi's current practice may be contravening the labour laws - 4 hours of OT every day for a month, do the math. Where are the cops when you need them?
This is really a bad example in that crockery for sushi food is definitely easier to clean than, say, curry rice or chilli crab. This is an ideal candidate for automation; washing machines can work round the clock and complete the cleaning task more productively than human hands can. However that means that management will not have the excuse to bitch about cutting the quota for foreign labour, which seems to be the underlying intent for the whole charade in the first place. Khaw Boon Wan famously asked, "Did I jump the gun?" about his premature endorsement of the NParks purchase before appreciating the scale of the Brompton scam. Hopefully Ministers will one day learn to aim first before they shoot.