OUR LABOUR LAWS ARE INCAPABLE OF PROTECTING SINGAPOREAN WORKERS

I’ve been in the HR field for almost 9 years changing employers as soon as a better deal comes along. During those 9 fruitful years, I’d handled and encountered many cases of employees’ grievances.

The most conspicuous change I saw was the flooding of foreign employees at every level of an organization’s hierarchy, as our liberal immigration policies take effect.

Jobs that were readily available for Singaporeans went to the foreigners who will accept a much more lower entry salary due to the currency exchange. For positions that requires a diploma, locals were beaten off by foreigners with degrees.

For positions that requires a degree, locals still got beaten off by foreigners with degrees because of their lower asking salaries.

It is not rocket science to know that with cheap labour readily available in the job market, administrative jobs that requires no specific skills were the most affected and wages depressed.

Why would businesses hire or retain Singaporeans, increasing their salaries each year to reach the salary ceiling when they can just plunge into the labour market to practically ‘buy’ cheap labour?

Take for an example a real case scenario which I happened to realise a couple of months down the road after an employee were terminated.

An admin assistant position. After years of service, an admin asst can expect a salary of $1800-$2000. But employers can just give termination notice of 1 month to fulfil the contract obligations and then proceed to hire cheaper alternative at $1200 p/mth.

Our labour laws aren’t designed to protect employees from such situations. I can only hope our Unions wake up from its slumber and lobby for tighter labour laws. Start doing what matters most. Fight for workers rights. Not NTUC link points programme.

Osman Sulaiman

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