RETRENCHMENT IS A FASHIONABLE CORPORATE PRACTICE THAT HURTS S’POREANS

Dear Editors,

It seems hard for Singaporeans to make a living in Singapore nowadays.

Holding onto a job is no longer easy. Job insecurity and suppressed wages have become a norm. Retrenchment in Singapore has been allowed to become a fashionable, regular corporate practice. Some companies carry out retrenchment of staff no longer out of necessity, but as a regular exercise to stay lean. This has been allowed to happen due to the largely unrestrained flow of foreign workers into Singapore and relatively lax labour laws to protect our workers. There used to be a time around 1980s when corporate retrenchments were unheard of and university graduates had iron rice bowls. Companies actually expected loyalty from their employees. Then sometime around 1990s-2000s, corporate retrenchments became a necessity for companies to weather changing, unfavourable business conditions. Now in Singapore, due to easy access to cheap, foreign labour and relative ease to let go of employees, some opportunistic companies carry out retrenchments as a regular practice to save labour costs. Over all these years, Singaporeans have been subjected to harsher and more uncertain working conditions.

But Singaporeans are not against having foreigners working in Singapore. We understand that Singapore needs foreign workers. It’s just a matter of how many and in what industries. Where there is a will, there is a way. All Singaporeans can be assured of decent jobs with foreign workers filling in the gaps. Singaporeans are brought up with the instilled notion that as long as we are willing to study and work hard, we will have good jobs. Many Singaporeans studied very hard. Many Singaporeans want to work hard. But now, many are deprived of favourable job opportunities for them to work hard, to earn a decent living, to lead comfortable lives for themselves and their families and to have positive morale and self-esteem. It is not surprising if many Singaporeans are disappointed and felt that what has been promised to them has not been delivered. Some may even have slipped into depression.

Many Singaporeans may have thought of starting and running a business to make a living instead. However, business costs are spiralling high as there are not much rent controls in Singapore. It is not surprising if many entrepreneurs find themselves toiling to sustain a business, folding up a business or ended up in huge debts from running a business.

A comfortable way of making a decent living is very important to an individual. With this, then only can one go on to building a good life for themselves by raising a family and maintaining a positive mentality towards life.

Where there is a will, there is a way
A.S.S. Contributor

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