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Employers who retrench workers should do so 'responsibly': TAFEP

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices says retrenchments should be done bearing in mind the impact on affected employees.

SINGAPORE: In the event retrenchments have to be carried out, employers should do so "responsibly and sensitively", said the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) on Tuesday (Feb 2).

In a statement released in response to media reports of retrenchments, TAFEP said that when retrenchments are carried out, it should be done bearing in mind the impact on affected employees.

In a report by the Manpower Ministry on Jan 28, 4,200 workers were laid off in the fourth quarter of 2015, higher than the 3,460 layoffs in the previous quarter. The majority of the increase in layoffs stemmed from the manufacturing and services sectors, the ministry said.

On Jan 22, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) announced that a total of 2,512 workers from 45 unionised companies were displaced from their jobs in 2015, a 11.8 per cent increase from 2,246 workers in 2014.

Acknowledging that "retrenchments may sometimes be inevitable", TAFEP urged employers to consult with the union if the company is unionised, as well as provide adequate notice to affected employees so that early assistance can be provided.

Employers should also pay all salaries due, including unconsumed annual leave, notice pay, among others, to the affected employees by the last day of work, as well as consider providing retrenchment benefits to compensate affected employees and provide employment assistance, it said.

TAFEP said employees who are affected by a retrenchment exercise may approach NTUC’s U PME Centre at One Marina Boulevard NTUC Centre or the Employment and Employability Institute for advice.

Employers may wish to seek the advice of the Singapore National Employers Federation, it added.

In Parliament last month, Member of Parliament Saktiandi Supaat said in his maiden speech that TAFEP needs more “teeth” to impose sanctions on errant employers.