[Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect Norman Then’s personal statement.]
Singaporean F&B establishment Stickies Bar found themselves in hot water following reports that they have failed to pay employees their monthly salaries on time.
Vulcan Post understands that many employees have experienced delays in receiving their monthly salaries and CPF since December 2023 and have sought support from their founders, Norman Then and Sino Chong.
Then, who is also the CEO of Stickies, has since responded to employees’ concerns and inquiries, stating that all employees will eventually receive their salaries. The bar has also reportedly closed two out of four of their outlets. However, Then clarified in a statement that only their outlet at Dhoby Ghaut is currently in operation.
Employees frustrated with continuous delays in payments
According to a report, Then told the employees they would receive their salaries by January 8. However, employees voiced that they had not received their due salaries, to which Then responded by stating that employees could expect their salaries by January 15.
This did not appease the employees, as one employee pointed out that the founders had “more than enough time” to resolve the issues. Then responded by saying that they had paid some employees half of their monthly salaries, and the company would pay the rest accordingly.
When an employee asked how the founders decided who received their salaries first, Then shared that some staff were paid earlier and kitchen staff were the last to receive payment. He said the employees need to drive up sales as the money earned is used to cover their salaries.
We understand how you all feel. But if we don’t work and bring in sales, then we can’t pay everyone.
So please help us help you.Norman Then, CEO and co-founder of Stickies Bar in a Telegram group chat
Then claimed that the company earned less than S$400,000 in December, insufficiently covering employees’ salaries. However, according to a screenshot of an Excel sheet showing the monthly sales made, the company earned approximately S$460,000, contradicting Then’s claim. Then did not directly respond to the employee, reiterating that employees would be paid once more sales were made.
According to the group chats, Then added that he and Chong have been looking for loans and grants, which have “maxed out” during the COVID-19 pandemic as they were used to cover rental fees, loans, and salaries.
Stickies has laid off 15 employees and will undergo IJM
On January 15, the founders announced in their group chats that the company would undergo Interim Judicial Management (IJM). According to Singapore Legal Advice, IJM is a type of debt restructuring in which an interim judicial manager is appointed to manage the assets and processes of a company in distress.
Vulcan Post understands that an interim meeting will be held next week, at which all employees and both co-founders will be present.
In response to Vulcan Post’s inquires, Then explained that the business has engaged Mr Farooq Mann, a licensed insolvency practitioner from Mann & Associates in the capacity of a interim judicial manager to “protect the going concerns of the business and to look out for the best interest of all the creditors including the staff.”
Stickies is determined to do right by all stakeholders and we hope to have the public’s support by their patronage at our outlet that is still running at Stickies at our Dhoby Ghaut outlet.Norman Then, CEO and co-founder of Stickies Bar
Prior to the IJM, Stickies reportedly laid off 15 employees over the past few months. Those affected were informed that their cease-of-employment would take effect immediately. Following MOM laws, these employees are considered “retrenched.”
Vulcan Post has reached out to NTUC for comment, and their response is as follows:
Stickies Bar Pte Ltd is a non-unionised company. Affected workers can approach NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) for job placement assistance and career guidance. Workers can also approach the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM)@MOM to make an appointment. NTUC general branch members can contact TADM@NTUC at 6213-8008 to make an e-appointment or walk in for immediate assistance.
It’s unfortunate that the workers have been left in the lurch. We encourage affected workers to reach out for help. We [also] urge companies to be responsible and treat their workers fairly.NTUC Spokesperson
Currently, Stickies’ website is down. They remain active on their social media platforms; however, comments have been limited.
Not their first time in hot water
Stickies Bar was first established in 2017. It is famous for its “Beer-O-Clock” promotions, which make it popular for those looking for affordable drinks.
Since their inception, their founders are no stranger to online scrutiny and criticism. The bar found itself in a social media war when a customer gave a one-star review of their bar in 2017, to which Then responded to the posts defending his staff. The saga sparked a huge online debate surrounding customer rights when dining in.
In addition to the outrage from employees, speculations of illegally hiring workers also surround the bar, with S$20,000 being used to pay their salaries.
They may have recovered from the 2017 kerfuffle, but might remain stuck in this one.
Featured Image Credit: Eatigo