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MOM takes action against company due to discriminatory treatment to Singaporean employees

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced in a statement that firm actions have been taken on Prime Gold International Pte Ltd (Prime Gold), a marine company for engaging in discriminatory employment practices against its Singaporean employees in breach of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF).

The work pass privileges of Prime Gold would be curbed for two years to "reflect the seriousness of the infringement" by MOM.

While MOM has taken action against about 100 companies for posting discriminatory job advertisements in the past, this is the first time that MOM has done so to a company which has discriminated against its Singaporean employees.

The FCF, put in place since last year is said to be part of the Government’s overall effort to strengthen the Singaporean Core in the workforce. All employers doing business in Singapore are expected to consider Singaporeans fairly for job vacancies and to comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.

Mrs Roslyn Ten-Kong (龚秀乡), Director of the Fair Consideration Department, said: “MOM has been investigating complaints against companies for not considering Singaporeans fairly for job and development opportunities, including if they resorted to discriminatory dismissal of Singaporeans. This is a case where we found the company to have retrenched Singaporeans unfairly.” To reflect the seriousness of this infringement, Prime Gold would have their work pass privileges curbed for two years.

Discriminatory practices uncovered by MOM

MOM shared that former Singaporean employees of Prime Gold, comprising Captains, Chief Officers, Chief Engineers, Greasers and Able-bodied Seamen, had approached MOM for assistance in June 2014. These employees felt aggrieved when they were successively retrenched while their positions were filled with new foreign workers.

Prime Gold claimed to MOM that the Singaporean employees were retrenched due to job redundancy and that the company was running losses. Prime Gold also pointed out their unsatisfactory work performance and their lack of relevant qualifications as reasons.

However, investigations by MOM revealed that Prime Gold retrenched 13 Singaporean workers in phases, only to have their vacancies made open to foreign workers. The rationale of the ex-employees’ poor work performances and inadequate qualifications were not substantiated.

MOM assessed that by unfairly replacing Singaporeans with foreigners, Prime Gold has denied Singaporeans fair opportunities for employment and career development.

The government agency further added that it takes a serious view of the discriminatory employment practices carried out by Prime Gold, as it affects the livelihood of Singaporeans already in employment.

Members of the public can call MOM at 6438 5122 to report non-compliance of FCF issues. All tip-offs will be kept strictly confidential.