MOM LOOKING INTO ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST S’POREANS IN RWS RETRENCHMENT

Dear Editors,

I refer to the article “MOM looking into alleged discrimination in RWS retrenchment” (Today, Jul 28).

Alleged discrimination against Singaporeans?

It states that “Some former employees alleged that Singaporeans were unfairly retrenched by RWS even as foreigners were retained and even sought after, pointing to an advertisement the company had placed in Malaysia for casino staff with pay offered in Singapore dollar terms. “It is not fair for a company to fire Singaporeans and hire foreigners at lower Singapore dollar salaries… The advertisement was later pulled,” one complainant said.

According to employment and labour relations lawyer Vernon Voon, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, there are no regulations which require RWS to terminate foreign employees before Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents, as companies retain the right to retrench based on their needs and the skill sets of their employees, and not by virtue of nationality.

However, he added: “Although the retrenchment per se is not unfair or unlawful, MOM should be astute to discern if RWS’ retrenchment exercise has unfairly targeted Singaporeans…or used criteria for retrenchment that are not objective and relevant to the job at hand””.

What % laid off were Singaporeans?

So, what percentage of the 400 jobs laid off were Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners?

Breakdown of workforce into Singaporeans, PRs & foreigners?

What percentage of RWS’s workforce are Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners?

2011: 70% are locals?

In this connection, in RWS’s reply “We remain committed to hiring Singaporeans: RWS” (Today, Oct 4, 2011) to my letter “IR updates requested” (Sept 30, 2011) – RWS said “Today, we have a 13,000-strong workforce; about 70 per cent are locals. Our talent recruitment is ongoing and we remain committed to hiring Singaporeans.”

You will note that RWS referred to locals, which presumerably includes permanent residents, and not Singaporeans, in its reply.

2012: 75% are Singaporeans?

However, subsequently in a parliamentary reply in November 2012 – it was said that “Based on reports by Today and Lianhe Zaobao on 10th Nov 2012, the two Integrated Resorts (IRs) directly employ more than 22,000 staff, of which about 70% are locals. MBS hires over 9,400 full time employees, of which 60% are Singaporeans. RWS employs over 13,000 staff, and around 75% are Singaporeans. Singaporeans also take up 80% of total PME positions in RWS”.

A lot of people then asked as to why the parliamentary reply had to rely on newspaper reports to answer a question on statistics in Parliament? This I believe is unprecedented in Singapore’s Parliamentary history. Why didn’t the Government obtain the statistics directly?

So, in a period of 12 months or so, “about 70 per cent are locals” had become “around 75% are Singaporeans”?

Leong Sze Hian

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