Since 13th May 2014, GATES PCM Construction Ltd has been cited by social media platforms and has had a few allegations of misconduct directed at us. This statement aims to dispel such false allegations laid upon the company. We would also like to take this opportunity to share with our stakeholders and any concerned individuals, the circumstances and truths behind the termination of Mr Muhammed Gani Bin Nazir.
Firstly, GATES PCM Construction Ltd would like to express its deepest sympathies for Mr Gani and his daughter. It is unfortunate that during his tenure with us, he did not inform us about his family issues despite being given the avenue to do so through our open door policy that had allowed him to converse with our boss directly on several occasions since the date of his employment commencing 18th June 2012.
Secondly, we would like to clarify the job scope of our company’s drivers. Not every driver is given the same contract or tied down to the same contractual obligations. In the case of Singaporean drivers like Mr Gani, they are contracted to ferry workers, 5.5 days in a work week under a normal shift system. However, our foreign drivers are contractually obliged to work on a split shift system, which requires them to ferry workers and equipment to the site and back at irregular hours. As such, they work on a system whereby they have to punch in multiple (4 or 5) irregular small shifts of an average of 1.5hrs each in a working day.
We have approximately 250 foreign workers working on the Downtown Line project, around the clock in shifts in order to meet the deadlines for the completion of the network. As such, the drivers on the split-shift system are essential for the successful ferrying of workers and enable the optimal amount of work to be completed within the time frame. (CNA, May 2014, refer to link below.)
Mr Gani was originally involved in another project that required a driver under the normal shift system. Despite the completion of the project, we tried our best to retain him by transferring him to another project in Dec 2013. However, despite trying our best to accommodate him for a period of four months as an excess to the manpower that we required on the ground, there was only so much we could do for him. This was the reason behind the termination of Mr Gani and it has been clearly explained to him as well. With regards to Mr Gani’s allegation that he was replaced by a foreign driver, this is false as the one new foreign driver which we have hired is coming on board in order to replace another outgoing driver under the split shift work system, who had already tendered his resignation. To clarify, our total driver strength before Mr Gani’s termination was 9 drivers and the current total driver strength of our company is 7 drivers.
With regards to his other allegations, it is unfortunate that despite visiting the office a few times this year alone, Mr Gani was unable to account for our employment strength accurately. In terms of our office-based strength, GATES PCM Construction Ltd has hired 26 office staff of whom 60% are locals. However, we do not blame him for not being aware of our 58 locals working on site in another Downtown Line Project.
On an overall, our work-force strength is equipped with 75 locals and 384 foreigners. This number of foreigners is required as over 80% of our foreign workforce is engaged in jobs that involve a high percentage of manual work that Singaporeans tend to shun. In this sense, it is clear that contrary to the allegations that Mr Gani has placed on us, we are not exceeding our quota and in fact, we are under-utilizing it. This is due to our increasingly pro-Singaporean hiring policies as evident in our latest recruitment efforts. Our latest job advertisement placed today in The Straits Times, indicates “foreigners quota filled” in order to deter foreign applicants. We also placed another advertisement in early April in Jobs DB for a Senior HR Executive to bolster our HR department in order to enhance the welfare of our local employees. We have already confirmed a local for the position.
As part of our efforts to recruit Singaporeans, we have also participated in E2I’s job fair on 26th March 2014 and will be participating in a similar job fair tomorrow, which is reflected in today’s job advertisement.
As reported by Tamil Murasu on 1st May 2014, GATES PCM Construction Ltd also organised a family day in East Coast Park on 27th April 2014, showing that we are indeed caring employers who do not just worry about the welfare of our employees but also their families.
It should be of key note that the bulk of our local and foreign workforce are contributing to landmark projects in Singapore’s railway industry. We are a reputable establishment and are focussed on caring for our employees and giving back to society through various charitable ventures. (See Tamil Murasu and Tabla! articles attached below) As such, despite the multiple allegations and defamation suffered from Mr Gani’s comments online, we will reserve our rights. In fact, we will go out of our way to assist Mr Gani in his search for new employment opportunities.