Wisma Atria has put up signs outside the men’s toilets on all of its five floors stating that contractors are only allowed to use the toilet in the carpark on the fifth level, behind the cargo lift. The signs further state that any contractors who used any other toilets will get fined and even “immediately banned” from working in Wisma Atria.
Someone took a photo of one of those signs and put it up on social media. Many netizens reacted angrily about this perceived discrimination of foreign workers. Some have even stated that they would boycott the mall.
Wisma Atria isn’t to blame for banning contractors from using all but one toilet. They only did that because shoppers complained! If no one complained about contractors using the toilets, you think Wisma Atria would do that? So if netizens want to get angry, they ought to be angry at the root cause of this incident: those shoppers who complained.
Some people may then say, “but shoppers only complained about the foreign workers showering and washing their tools what… can just stop the foreign workers from doing that mah…”
Again. Don’t be stupid. By the very nature of their jobs, contractors boots and hands will be dirty (cement, dust, dirt etc). Simply walking into the toilets and washing their hands will make the toilets look filthy. And that would almost certainly attract complaints: “Aiyoh! Wisma Atria ah! How come your toilets so dirty one! Get something done about it!”
Then what do you think will happen? The poor cleaners would have to do more cleaning! You try la. Let a whole bunch of contractors, after they’ve done some cement work or sawn or drilled a lot of wood, use your toilet. Then you see how hard it is to clean that toilet and revert it to the pristine state that shoppers expect to see in a “high class” shopping mall.
Imagine if there wasn’t such a ban and the contractors kept using all the toilets throughout the day, and shoppers kept complaining, then the poor cleaners would have to keep scrubbing and scrubbing THE ENTIRE DAY. It’s back breaking work. So if you are angry about Wisma Atria’s “toilet ban” and really want to do something about it, go volunteer to clean the toilets of Wisma Atria after every time the contractors use them.
But I doubt any one will do it. And Wisma Atria also knows that no one will do it. So “to ensure that shoppers enjoy a conducive shopping environment within the mall”, while not increasing the burden of their cleaners Wisma Atria has to have this policy of banning contractors from using all but one toilets.
Which, apparently, is common practice in all work sites:
It’s easy to criticise. It’s easy to be angry. And it’s ok. At least it shows that we care. But beyond anger, beyond criticism, I hope we can assist to provide a solution. An alternative. Are there any good alternatives to a blanket ban that comes along threats of fines and expulsion? Any that would work? Any that would address the demands of shoppers wanting pristinely clean toilets, not overwork cleaners, and provide for the welfare of contractors?
I can’t think of any. Perhaps that’s cos I stupid. Maybe there are cleverer, wiser people around who can think of alternatives that work. But so far, I’ve not seen anyone suggesting a solid alternative that would work. Can you think of one?
[Featured image: Sign outside a men’s toilet in Wisma Atria. Image credits: ST/Olivia Ho]