It was reported last week that legal strike against Eagle Services Asia, a joint venture company between SIA Engineering and American aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, was averted after the company and the unions came to an amicable agreement in the retrenchment process.
The Managing Director of Eagle Services Asia is Yip Ying Kiong who started his career in the RSAF as a young civilian officer in Paya Lebar Air Base, helping to defend Singaporeans (‘Eagle Services Asia’s boss who initially wanted to retrench more Singaporeans came from RSAF‘).
Yip was appointed Managing Director of the joint venture company in 2016. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, he was forced to retrench employees.
However, for unknown reasons, he initially wanted to retrench 144 workers with the majority (56 per cent) being Singaporeans. He also did not follow the due retrenchment process as laid down by the tripartism practised in Singapore.
NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, who is no longer a Cabinet minister and MP, had to step-in personally. In fact, Ng authorised the unions to prepare for legal strike should the management refuse to budge.
The last legal strike in Singapore happened in 1986 when then NTUC’s secretary-general Ong Teng Cheong authorised a 2-day strike by members of the Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees’ Union against an American company.
Nevertheless, the legal strike against Eagle Services Asia was averted after Yip capitulated and “corrected” the retrenchment process. The final retrenchment list would consist of around 44 per cent Singaporeans, with the rest being foreigners. Ng noted that the parties had reviewed the selection criteria to ensure that the Singaporean core of the workforce is safeguarded.
Yip: There are 2 sides to a story
On his LinkedIn activity page yesterday night (4 Aug), Yip posted a message to say that the past week has been difficult for him. He said that his company had to let go workers “with a heavy heart”.
Commenting about media reports on him and his company, he replied, “There have been many media reports with some accusations thrown our way. There are always 2 sides of a story with considerations like operations and security to keep in mind. But I don’t believe that arguing what is right and wrong will do any good now.”
He did not elaborate further what his side of the story was about, except to say that “operations and security” have to be kept in mind.
He then said that if the pandemic had never occurred, he would have kept everyone. He also thanked those who had been retrenched, “I thank every affected staff. I appreciate all of your contributions, and I truly wish you and your family well.”
Yip: Thank you – Minister Ng!
Apparently, this was not the first time Yip encountered the Labour Chief Ng Chee Meng.
Last year, Ng visited Yip and his company. Yip was visibly excited as he wrote about Ng’s visit on his LinkedIn activity page to inform everyone about Ng’s visit.
“Today is a special Day at ESA !” Yip wrote. “We hosted a special visit by Minister Ng Chee Meng, Minister in the PMO & Secretary-General of NTUC & several of his senior staff at noon.”
Ng toured the plant before joining Yip and staff for a lunch buffet. Yip said Ng “was very engaged in sporting ‘Wefie’ with our employees”.
“Thank you – Minister Ng !” Yip wrote.