Four complaints lodged this year against condo managing agent behind 'discriminatory' tender: TAFEP
The Manpower Ministry is reviewing the work pass privileges of Savills Property Management, says the national watchdog for fair employment.
SINGAPORE: Four complaints were lodged this year against the condominium managing agent that put out the "discriminatory" tender for security services at Hillview Heights condominium, and the agent's work pass privileges are currently being reviewed by authorities.
The incident involving Hillview Heights marked the fourth time this year that the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) received complaints about Savills Property Management for "tender documents containing discriminatory clauses", a spokesperson from TAFEP told CNA on Tuesday (Sep 14).
The tender for security services at Hillview Heights was called out by the Security Association Singapore (SAS) in a Facebook post on Sep 6 for what it described as "race and age discrimination".
The tender document stated that there will be a penalty of S$100 per shift imposed on the security agency if it fails to provide “a Chinese-speaking guard” for more than six shifts each month. A warning letter will also be issued.
It also said that management may fine the agency S$100 each time a guard younger than 21 years old or older than 60 is deployed "without the prior approval of the management".
The tender was posted on e-marketplace site Really Singapore and dated Sep 3.
SAVILLS "ONCE AGAIN" BREACHES FAIR EMPLOYMENT GUIDELINES
Regarding the past three incidents this year, TAFEP said Savills had removed the "discriminatory clauses" in their tender documents after TAFEP asked them to do so.
Savills was also asked to attend TAFEP's Fair Hiring Clinic to better understand the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP).
"Despite receiving repeated counsel and advice from TAFEP on how to improve on the clauses in their tender documents, Savills has once again breached the TGFEP," said TAFEP in response to queries from CNA.
"Furthermore, Savills has not formally responded to TAFEP’s request for an explanation into the latest incident except to bcc TAFEP when sending its press statement to the media."
As a result, TAFEP has "strongly recommended" the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to take action against Savills, and said the ministry was currently reviewing Savills' work pass privileges.
"MOM and TAFEP expect Savills to immediately work with all its Management Corporation Strata Titles (MCST) to ensure that its future tenders adhere to the TGFEP," it added.
"Unless it is a regulatory or legal requirement, including age-related requirements when advertising for job roles is a serious breach of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices. Reasons for requiring language proficiency for any role should also be clearly stated."
TAFEP and MOM "take a serious view of such discriminatory practices", it said.
CNA has contacted Savills for comment.
ORIGINAL TENDER CRITICISED BY SECURITY ASSOCIATION
In its Facebook post, SAS said there are other "clauses of concern" in the tender document for Hillview Heights. But it highlighted those two clauses because they "appear to penalise security agencies unless they exercise discrimination in their hiring and deployment of security officers".
SAS also said that it would raise the matter with TAFEP and MOM.
The association added, however, that they were "well aware that there may not be much they can do, because the fair employment guidelines apply only to employers".
This means that managing agents like Savills Property Management and service buyers like Hillview Heights "may be able to get away with forcing service providers like security agencies to carry out discriminatory practices".
It said it had spoken to MOM last year about this "gap in the law" and urged that the guidelines be extended to buyers of outsourced services as well.
On Sep 8, Savills Property Management apologised for the "confusion" in what it described as an "unfortunate situation" in a statement to CNA.
"This is an unfortunate situation created by historical tender documentation language from 2000," it said.
"We sincerely apologise for any confusion caused and have taken steps to ensure all tender documentation reflects current TGFEP."