Where were our pro-business unions when workers needed them most?

By: Phillip Ang

Singaporean employees should wake up to the fact that they are alone in their times of need, no thanks to our pseudo workers’ unions.

It therefore should not surprise anyone that GLC Surbana Jurong has recently dismissed dozens of workers, citing “poor performance” instead of retrenching them.

Up to 65 employees – all based in Singapore – are affected. Instead of being upfront, Surbana tried to downplay this by highlighting the number of terminations as a percentage of its “global 13,000-strong workforce”.

Singaporeans are of course not interested in Surbana’s operations elsewhere so why the 13,000 global workforce figure instead of 3000 locally? Same PAP habit of stating half truths?

Surbana has made a rather stupid statement when it said that “a small number of poor performers were communicated with and released”. Is ‘up to 65’ really a “small number”? And coincidentally all were assessed to be poor performers at the same time?

There is more to this than meets the eye.

Leong Sze Hian has already pointed out that the correct percentage is much higher – about 2.16%. If 2.16% or 3098 public servants of the 143,000-strong public service are terminated, will the PAP government state this as a ‘small number’?

To top that, most of the 18 workers represented by 2 pseudo unions are over the age of 62. This means they had been Surbana’s employees for decades. The reason for Surbana to prefer termination to retrenchment is clear for all with eyes to see.

Thanks to social media, half truths are easily exposed.

Those who have been unfairly dismissed have decided to fight back. They shared with TOC that Surbana had given them 2 choices, both of which saved millions for Surbana. The workers would have been terminated if they had not resigned.

The TOC article has confirmed that many workers had been with Surbana for more than 20 years, when it was still a stat board. And Surbana wants the public to believe all of them became underperformers overnight.

Despite the ‘assistance’ provided by MOM and NTUC ass sec-gen Zainal Sapari to Surbana’s former employees, this is all merely wayang, one which we have seen countless times.

Rank and file workers in GLCs and private companies had better vote wisely at the next GE as anyone could be the next victim of our pro business government.

If we did not have pseudo workers’ unions, Surbana would not have dared terminate its employees to save on retrenchment benefits. Our bloody useless workers’ unions have in fact not been helping workers for decades but assisting the government to shortchange them.

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