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MOM Takes Firm Action Against Prime Gold International Pte Ltd for Discriminatory Employment Practices

Company’s work pass privileges curbed due to discriminatory treatment of Singaporean employees

29 December 2014

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has curbed the work pass privileges of Prime Gold International Pte Ltd (Prime Gold) for engaging in discriminatory employment practices in breach of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)1. While MOM has taken action against about 100 companies for posting discriminatory job advertisements in the past, this is the first time that MOM has done so to a company which has discriminated against its Singaporean employees.
  2. 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.
  3. Mrs Roslyn Ten-Kong (龚秀乡), Director of the Fair Consideration Department, said: “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.” To reflect the seriousness of this infringement, Prime Gold would have their work pass privileges curbed for two years.

    Discriminatory practices uncovered
  4. Prime Gold’s former Singaporean employees, comprising Captains, Chief Officers, Chief Engineers, Greasers and Able-bodied Seamen, approached MOM for assistance in June 2014. These employees felt aggrieved when they were successively retrenched while their positions were filled with new foreign workers.
  5. Prime Gold claimed that the Singaporean employees were retrenched due to job redundancy and that the company was running losses. Prime Gold also pointed out their unsatisfactory work performance and their lack of relevant qualifications as reasons.
  6. Investigations revealed that 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.
  7. MOM assessed that by unfairly replacing Singaporeans with foreigners, Prime Gold has denied Singaporeans fair opportunities for employment and career development. MOM takes a serious view of the discriminatory employment practices carried out by Prime Gold, as it affects the livelihood of Singaporeans already in employment. We have therefore curbed the work pass privileges of the company for a substantial period.

    Reporting FCF issues to MOM
  8. Members of the public can call MOM at 6438 5122 to report non-compliance of FCF issues. All tip-offs will be kept strictly confidential.

1The Fair Consideration Framework is part of the Government’s overall effort to strengthen the Singaporean Core in the workforce.