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honestbee employees file salary claims amidst leaked video of furniture looting at 'habitat' emerges

honestbee

The crisis at honestbee has deepened further with its employee approaching the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) regarding non-payment of salaries, says a report in The Straits Times.

Of the total 77 employees who have filed salary claims with the ministry so far, 16 were filed in the past month. The MoM has scheduled their cases for mediation in March.

The embattled startup owes its employees salaries for February.

Last week, honestbee handed pink slips to 80 per cent of its 130 employees in Singapore, as investors are unwilling to provide funding for paying salaries of employees who had no work.

According to the ministry, honestbee had committed to a repayment schedule for former employees over five instalments from September 30 last year. The firm had complied with the schedule except for the final instalment which was due on Jan 31 to 45 former staff.

honestbee had owed more than 200 of its former employees around US$1 million in unpaid salaries and Central Provident Fund contributions.

The ministry and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) have warned honestbee to prioritise the final instalment. The government has also urged all of honestbee’s current and former employees with outstanding unpaid salary, including work pass holders, to file their claims with TADM.

Separately, the company closed its physical grocery store ‘habitat’ in Pasir Panjang since Feb 10, citing the coronavirus outbreak and a fall in walk-in traffic.

Meanwhile, a leaked video emerged of honestbee management and executives taking goods belonging to habitat, such as groceries, cutleries and furniture, for their personal taking.

Based on their understanding, these key executives did not pay for any of these items.

According to Business Times, honestbee has S$1.97 million worth of furniture and fixtures, S$3.87 million worth of store equipment and over S$84,000 in office equipment as of end-January.

This article was first published on e27, on Mar. 16.