NTUC retrenchment guidelines to be added to advisory

This article is more than 12 months old

Guiding principles proposed by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on conducting retrenchments fairly will be incorporated into the tripartite advisory on managing excess manpower and responsible retrenchment.

This means employers and the Government have agreed to include at least some elements of the labour movement's Fair Retrenchment Framework in the advisory, as layoffs rise amid the pandemic. The Straits Times understands details are still being worked out.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who announced the update to the advisory yesterday, said retrenchments will be inevitable, even with the Government's best efforts.

"For those of you who have fallen on hard times, we will continue to support you and walk this journey with you," he said.

The framework was announced by the National Trades Union Congress last month amid a wave of layoffs.

Integrated resorts operator Resorts World Sentosa had laid off an estimated 2,000 workers, while aircraft maintenance firm Eagle Services Asia laid off more than 140 workers last month.

Among other things, the framework says firms should protect the Singaporean core of the workforce, while foreigners with special or critical skills can be retained as well.

It also says companies should act early and explore cost-cutting measures such as wage cuts and secondments before considering retrenchments, and where layoffs are inevitable, they should provide fair retrenchment packages and processes.

The tripartite advisory on managing excess manpower and responsible retrenchment was last updated in March.

Among other things, it highlights other options besides retrenchment, such as sending staff for training, or "time banking" unused working hours to be repaid when business picks up. - THE STRAITS TIMES