The Ministry of Manpower has curbed the work pass privileges of a maritime firm in Singapore for discriminatory practices against local employees.
The Ministry found that Prime Gold International was engaging in discriminatory employment practices under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) after numerous retrenched employees came forward with information.
Although MOM has taken action against around 100 companies for posting discriminatory job advertisements, this is the first time the Ministry has taken action against a firm discriminating Singaporean employees, a press release stated.
Under the FCF, all firms must consider Singaporeans fairly for job vacancies. They should also put in place fair hiring, employment, and staff development practices that are open, merit-based and non-discriminatory.
“MOM has been investigating complaints against companies for not considering Singaporeans fairly for job and development opportunities, including if they resorted to discriminatory dismissal of Singaporeans. This is a case where we found the company to have retrenched Singaporeans unfairly,” said Roslyn Ten-Kong, director of the Fair Consideration Department.
Prime Gold has had their work pass privileges curbed for two years.
The issue came to light after Prime Gold’s former employees, including captains, chief officers and chief engineers, approached MOM in June 2014 to say they “felt aggrieved” when they were retrenched, and their positions were filled with newly-hired foreign workers.
Prime Gold claimed the Singaporean employees were retrenched due to job redundancies because the company was running losses. It also pointed out their “unsatisfactory work performance” and “lack of relevant qualifications” as reasons.
However, investigations revealed Prime Gold retrenched 13 Singaporean workers in phases, only to have their vacancies made open to foreign workers. The rationale of the ex-employees’ poor work performances and inadequate qualifications were not substantiated.
MOM assessed that by unfairly replacing Singaporeans with foreigners, Prime Gold has denied Singaporeans fair opportunities for employment and career development.