Lim Tean speaking at the Water hike protest at Hong Lim Park (Photo - Terry Xu)

Govt must set up necessary training programs for S’poreans in fields frequently filled by foreign workers: PVP chief

The Government must set up “necessary training programs” to train Singaporeans for jobs often filled by foreign workers and “which they claim Singaporeans are not qualified to do”, said People’s Voice Party chief Lim Tean.

Narrating the story of a Singaporean taxi driver in his early 40s named Derick on Fri morning (29 Nov), Lim said that Derick had left his job as a customer sales executive with an aerospace company based in Seletar, and opted to work as a taxi driver due to an “untenable” situation involving a foreign superior.

The Filipino superior, a customer service manager, had allegedly “insisted that Derick report for work earlier than usual and also stay late often”, Lim said.

While Derick did not mind reporting for work earlier, Lim said that Derick was not able to do so on a constant basis, as he had to pick up his children from school-care by 7pm every working day.

“I hear so many of such horror stories from Singaporeans every day. We have a PAP government that pretends that it is concerned about work-life balance and lifting the fertility rate, but will allow someone like Derick to be bullied by a foreigner out of a job! And why couldn’t that Filipino’s job be filled by a Singaporean?

“I am tired of listening to all sorts of nonsensical and fallacious arguments that many jobs cannot be filled by Singaporeans because the foreigners are better qualified,” Lim lamented.

Lim said stories from people like Derick has made him “realise the enormity of the task ahead” for a new government — one that is not of the People’s Action Party (PAP) — in “reforming and transforming Singapore for the better”.

“The SkillsFuture program is the biggest hoodwink that the PAP have attempted to persuade Singaporeans that they take the training or re-training of Singaporeans seriously,” he added.

Lim said that People’s Voice “will always insist that Singaporeans be given priority for jobs”, and that his party “will never allow that deserving Singaporean worker to be replaced by a foreigner”.

Several commenters shared similar experiences with the Derick in Lim’s anecdote:

One commenter pointed out, however, that foreign workers are viewed in most countries as “stopgap measures” and are often “pressured to leave” once their skills and experience have been transferred to their local counterparts:

Results of a poll conducted by recruitment site Monster.com revealed that 71 per cent of men and 76 per cent of women — 540 whom were surveyed in Singapore out of a total 2,238 from multiple countries — have a desire to work flexible hours.

Chief executive of the Asia-Pacific and Gulf regions at Monster.com Abhijeet Mukherjee said: “As Singaporean families move towards a more balanced share of the load between partners, men are starting to demand greater flexi-work options so that they can better support their families.”

The poll’s results, which were released in May this year, also revealed that nearly 75 per cent of the men polled in Singapore said that they were seeking greater work-life balance, and that such a balance is one of their top priorities when making changes in their career.

Approximately 42 per cent of the respondents were millennials, who are — in the survey — classified as being between the ages of 26 and 31.

“Young husbands and fathers are helping to drive the movement for greater equality in child-rearing … and employers need to catch up, too,” added Mr Mukherjee.

Founder of Listen Without Prejudice James Leong, however, noted that 41 per cent of men felt constant pressure to provide for their families, based on the survey’s other findings.

“There’s always a trade-off. For instance, would men who seek flexi-work be okay with earning less than their wife, even if it meant more time with the family?” said Leong.

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