In one of the biggest downsizing moves to hit the local motor industry, about 120 employees will be retrenched from Toyota agent Borneo Motors and Suzuki agent Champion Motors soon in the beginning of 2017.
The number of workers to be retrenched, represents 12-14 percent of Inchcape’s workers in Singapore.
The Straits Times reported that the retrenchment is due to restructuring operations by Inchcape, the vehicle distribution giant in Singapore.
Inchcape’s chief executive for South Asia and managing director of Borneo Motors, Mr Koh Ching Hong (57), will also give away his post at the end of January 2017. These retrenchments come in the midst of a gloomy economic view in the country.
The data from Ministry of Manpower showed that 12,010 workers were retrenched in the first three quarters of this year.
Considering Inchcape’s profitability in Singapore and its record sales the news is a surprise to industry observers. In the past years Borneo Motors has been on the top of the sales charts constantly.
Observers consider the move could be Inchcape’s strategy to streamline its operations in preparation for expected economic direction.
While Inchcape has yet to respond to queries by the Straits Times, the company has noted that the restructuring process will also involve shifting of its finance and IT functions out of Singapore.
From the beginning of 2016, there are a total about 200 companies that have reported retrenchments to MOM.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced a new requirement on mandatory retrenchment notifications which will take effect from 1 January 2017. The tripartite partners have issued an advisory to guide employers on complying with this requirement.
MOM states that such notifications will enable Workforce Singapore (WSG), the tripartite partners – the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) – and other relevant agencies to help affected employees find alternative employment and/or identify relevant training to enhance employability.
However, there are so still many loopholes that can be used to escape the retrenchment statistics.