More firms disguised layoffs
Many employees had their contracts terminated without clear explanation — just before their firms moved overseas. Others were let go because they did not meet their performance targets, or so they were told. But investigations showed that they are actually disquieting examples of “disguised retrenchments”, a trend the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is concerned about. NTUC is unhappy about such veiled layoffs because firms get away with not having to pay workers retrenchment benefits. It also allows them to avoid bad press or business repercussions if the word gets out. Hence, they axe staff but “don’t say it’s (a) redundancy”. Right now, firms do not have to notify the Government of any forthcoming retrenchment exercises, but are encouraged to do so. Retrenchment benefits are not mandatory under the law, and the quantum hinges on agreements between employers and employees. Quantums are to be negotiated between the two parties if no provisions are made.