Last Friday (3 April), an online user put up a post on Reddit titled “How is this happening? What is wrong with us?”, which highlights about how the Singaporean user was retrenched from work due to the current situation. circumstances.
It was said to be posted while the original poster (OP) was queuing to apply for the relief fund.
“I’m currently in queue applying for the relief fund due to recent circumstances. The funny thing is that out of the 50+ people that’s queuing with me now, I learnt that only a handful of them (6) are PR status, the rest are young-middle aged able-bodied Singaporeans. Before I was retrenched, I was working in an environment that consists of 28 Malaysian national, 2 Philippines, 3 China and 11 Singaporeans,” OP said.
OP is one of the six local staffs in the company who were retrenched, out of 44 employees in the department. Meanwhile, the other 5 local employees were converted from full-time employment to part-time contract.
“Out of the fxxxing 44 staff, 6 were retrenched with me included and all 6 of us are Singaporeans. The remaining 5 locals that wasn’t retrenched was because they were very long time staff (22-35 years) but they were converted from full-time staff to contract part-time. How is it that companies can get away with such legal exploitations without repercussions? And what’s so damn wrong with our labor system that relying on foreign labor is the way to go instead of nurturing and growing the local workforce?” OP added.
OP shared the frustration on Reddit and it gained various comments from other redditors.
Out of all the comments, a few of them focused on how the company is dodging retrenchment benefit.
Rekabre questioned, “is this a roundabout (and probably illegal) way of dogging retrenchment benefit payouts if the company does eventually retrench them a few months down the road?? E.g. 1 month for every year of service.
Dearwinnies replied that many companies in F&B industries are notorious with the practice. In her previous job, staffs were fired, all locals and no retrenchment letters were given when the outlet had to be closed. However, the redditor noted that the manager (foreigner) was not fired.
Meanwhile, the post reminded MamaJumba of Minister Chan Chun Sing who talked in Parliament early this month about the number of foreign workers in the country.
Separately, other users talked about other issues concerning the hiring of foreign workers, such as cost, skills, and visa. Redditor Planz123 said, “Singaporeans and PRs are 15% costlier (CPF) than foreigners. That’s the secret behind that.”
Some users agreed that employers would prefer hiring foreign workers as the labour cost will be lower as opposed to hiring Singaporeans.
Another user, runesplease said, “This is the reality now. A lot of us are just too expensive to hire as compared to foreign labour.” Redditor greenavocatdo replied using his experience as HR personnel to always try to hire locals as much as possible, but unfortunately Singaporeans aren’t willing to work as front line, blue-collar jobs.
Meanwhile, Art_em_all pointed out that employers hire workers not based on their citizenship or residency status but rather based on the skills that the individuals have or the value they bring to the company.
“So, instead of… I dunno, blaming economy for replying to much on “foreigners” – why don’t we ask what stops locals bring same value as those “foreigners,” he added.
Meanwhile, otio2014 requested the OP to not jump into discrimination possibility and to make an equal reason. He said that there is levies and mandatory quotas preventing hiring foreigners and mentioned that an e-pass for a foreigner takes about 2-3 months and sometimes Ministry of Manpower comes back with more questions after 3 months. So, in the redditor opinion, that long time process makes the workforce to favor hiring local instead.
He also added, “Now when a company has to downsize during hard times, it’s inevitable those deemed less competent would be let go. OP suggests he was discriminated based on being a local. This makes even less sense when you consider the incoming government wage subsidies to companies. Essentially the gov will pay up to 75% of the wages of employees, but this certainly going to be limited to locals and PRs if the crisis continues. In this kind of environment, every company would try to stuff their manpower list with Singaporeans, to get that sweet government aid. Unless of course the guy is so incompetent that this tradeoff isn’t worth it.”
Redditor ranmafan0281, who soon will be retrenched, reminded the fact that Singapore was founded on migrant law and that Singaporean are products and descendants of migrants. He also pointed out the fact that companies will want cheaper labour who is hungry for success. “It’s just business,” he said. Therefore, he urged that Singaporean should prove that they are worth the salary.