SINGAPORE: More than a week after Surbana Jurong sacked 54 employees, the Temasek Holdings-owned infrastructure consultancy company acknowledged on Tuesday (Jan 24) that the process could have been "better managed".
In a joint statement with union bodies Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union (SISEU) and Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees' Union (BATU), Surbana said they are working closely to provide an "equitable and mutually agreeable arrangement" for the affected workers and to help them find new employment.
It was earlier reported that Surbana Jurong's group chief executive, Wong Heang Fine, told employees in an email that the 54 affected workers were poor performers who could not be allowed to affect the rest of the organisation negatively.
However, BATU's president, Nasordin Mohd Hashim, said in a Facebook post on last Friday that the way the 54 workers were "managed out" did not follow due process.
"Usually, before a union member is terminated, the details of the case would be officially given to the union to ensure our members will be given fair treatment and that due process is followed. This was not observed," he wrote.
Mr Nasordin added in the post that eight of the 14 BATU members were staff members who were offered re-employment or had their contract renewed.
In Tuesday's statement, Surbana Jurong and the unions said they have made a commitment to work on "strengthening labour management relations" but did not elaborate on specifics.
The Manpower Ministry said in a statement that the move to resolve the matter amicably is “positive and constructive”.
“Companies that have to release their employees should conduct the process in a fair, sensitive and responsible manner. Companies that are unionised should value and nurture close and strong labour-management relationship, strengthen communications and consult with their unions regularly, especially during this period of economic uncertainty and restructuring,” it said.