Six bus captains who was just hired in the two months between December last year and January this year (2017) by bus company Tower Transit had their contract rescinded, with the explanation that the company had "inadvertently" hired more bus captains than its openings for as part of its recruitment activities.
The six of the bus captains received the notification via e-mail. One of them, who declined to be named, told The Straits Times that he was informed about the issue just two weeks before he was due to start work this month (February), claiming that the company told him that had reached "full staff capacity" and was "unable to proceed" with its job offer.
The man said the recruitment drive was "misleading" and that those who had left their jobs after getting the offer were "left stranded and distressed".
The company's spokesman said that its company recruitment happened during between December 2016 and January this year. However, he said that the company, which hails from United Kingdom, was not able to follow through on offers made to the six at this time.
"It’s a situation that has caused them distress and we’re doing everything we can, including direct referrals to other organisations, to help them find similar positions," he added.
The spokesman told the Straits Times that there were only three had responded to the offer.
Tower Transit began operations in Singapore last year after winning the first package of routes tendered under the Government’s bus contracting model.
Currently, the company employs between 700 to 800 bus drivers.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) stressed that both employer and employees should honour the commitment once the contract has been signed.
MOM stated that both parties should honour the contract "unless there are extenuating circumstances requiring the need to prematurely terminate the contract before the individual starts work", given that the employee might have resigned for his previous job.
The spokesman from MOM said that Tower Transit has informed the Ministry and acknowledged that there were lapses in their HR process, adding that the company is extending assistance to all affected individuals and will compensate them for this early termination.
Melvin Yong, National Transport Workers’ Union executive secretary, said, "If either party has to revoke the contract, due notification, explanation and compensation should be given."
He stated that employers should help those affected get a job as soon as possible.
He also said that the affected employees can approach the union for job placement assistance, through the Employment and Employability Institute.
However, human recourses experts said that affected employees might have limited recourse.
Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, told Today that most employment contracts come into effect on the first day of work commencement unless there is an explicit clause stipulating that either party must give notice for not honouring the contract.
She noted that some employers offer a small amount of compensation out of goodwill, adding that it is difficult to pursue a case when potential employees pull out.