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Stickies Bar grapples with unpaid salaries and sudden layoffs

Stickies Bar grapples with a multifaceted crisis, sudden layoffs and unpaid salaries. The F&B establishment’s financial turmoil, involves closure of outlets, director claims of insolvency, and allegations of employing illegal workers since 2023.

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SINGAPORE: Stickies Bar faced financial difficulties at the beginning of the year, leading to the closure of two outlets and the sudden layoff of about a fifth of its workforce.

Employees, initially expecting their December salaries, found themselves in a challenging situation as Stickies Bar grappled with at least S$200,000 (US$149,000) in debt.

The F&B establishment, not unionized, closed two outlets in Aljunied and on Keng Cheow Street near Clarke Quay on 15 January.

Some employees reported that the closure caught them off guard, and additional layoffs were announced for 31 January.

Aside from job uncertainty, Stickies employees faced issues with unpaid salaries and Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions since November 2023.

As of Monday (22 Jan), 37 employees sought assistance from the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) for their salary claims, prompting TADM to refer the matter to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for investigations into potential Employment Act breaches.

TADM and MOM have been actively assisting affected employees, supporting salary recovery and connecting them with the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) for employment facilitation.

TADM and MOM also urged workers needing help with salary claims to approach the alliance early.

Stickies Bar faces financial turmoil as employees report unpaid salaries

Issues regarding Stickies Bar’s delayed salary payouts and Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions were initially reported by alternative news source Wake Up Singapore on 21 January.

According to documents obtained by Wake Up Singapore, at least 18 employees faced delayed payments in November 2023, with some shortfalls exceeding S$1,000 (US$746).

In December 2023, over 60 employees were not paid on time, or in some cases, not paid at all.

Taryn, an HR manager at Stickies Bar, expressed understanding about previous late payments but noted a shift when December salaries remained unpaid for most staff.

Stickies owners, Norman Then and Chong Sing Yong, initially assured employees they would be paid on 8 January.

When that date arrived, the owners explained that there was not enough money and pledged payment on the 15 January, urging employees to work hard and boost sales.

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(Photo: WakeUp Singapore)

According to WakeUp Singapore, Stickies has an average combined fortnightly revenue of S$120,000 (US$89,550) from multiple outlets. However, Stickies’ owners claim the company is unable to pay their employees.

On 15 January, the same day two Stickies outlets closed, the owners informed employees of their application for interim judicial management—a debt restructuring method involving an independent manager overseeing a company’s affairs under financial distress.

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(Photo: WakeUp Singapore)

Stickies Bar faces abrupt layoffs, leaving employees in limbo

Stickies Bar initiated abrupt layoffs at the beginning of the year, dismissing approximately 20 full-time employees, as reported by individuals who spoke to CNA.

These retrenchments primarily affected the headquarters team, encompassing departments like marketing and finance.

According to staff accounts, Norman, one of the owners, asked employees to resign, and those unwilling to do so had their contracts terminated in early January.

The remaining employees in the team have also been instructed to leave by 31 January and seek alternative employment.

Among the remaining employees, Maya, who is also owed her salary, expressed scepticism, stating, “I just feel that they are leading us on, and I know for sure that they’re not going to pay us.”

Taryn echoed the sentiment of uncertainty. She highlighted a colleague who reached an agreement with Stickies through TADM but has yet to receive payment.

Both current and former employees emphasized the prevailing sense of waiting without clear resolution.

Stickies Bar faces legal woes and debt threats alongside employee issues

Not only facing issues with their employees, it turns out that Stickies Bar has also received lawyers’ letters from various companies warning about legal action for failure to pay debts.

A letter dated 3 January, issued by lawyers from Kishan Law Chambers, revealed that Stickies Bar owed over S$200,000 (US$149,250) to Platinum Wines & Spirits distributor for goods sold and delivered.

The lawyers confirmed their client had initiated legal proceedings against Stickies Bar due to non-payment.

According to CNA, another set of lawyers’ letters was found attached to the Stickies @ Dhoby Ghaut branch’s front door.

Despite this, the bar opened at the usual time, with patrons entering about 10 minutes later.

The letters, dated 19 January and signed by Mr Jonathan Wong of Bayfront Law, claimed Stickies Bar owed over S$32,000 (US$23,880) to private equity investment firm Tonghuai @ Nanhang.

However, the challenges don’t end there.

According to Wake Up Singapore, Stickies allegedly has been employing illegal workers since 2023.

Documents reveal that the company allegedly transferred at least S$10,000 (US$7,462) monthly from its account to the bank account of an Outlet Manager (“OM”) to pay these illegal workers.

Furthermore, suspicions were raised in January 2024 when S$20,000 (US$14,924) was reportedly transferred from Stickies to the account of an operational staff, hinting at the potential use of these funds for illegal worker payments.

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MoM will protect them
Business Associations will protect them
Trade Associations will protect them
Even police will protect them as the ‘wrong doings’ are not criminal.
NTUC will PRETEND to be helping despite employees not unionised
(which basically means they did not pay protection money)
TADM will PRETEND to be helping them

Good example to show that Singapore is extremely business friendly.

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