Tripartite partners to release advisories on ensuring sustainability of outsourced sectors affected by COVID-19
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), together with relevant sector agencies and associations, will be publishing Tripartite Advisories (TA) to guide service buyers and service providers on measures to adopt to ensure the sustainability of their sectors in view of COVID-19.
Tripartite advisories to be issued progressively
2 The tripartite partners released the first TA on Ensuring Sustainability of the Cleaning Sector on 17 April 2020, and today released the TA on Ensuring Sustainability of the Security Sector (Annex).
3 Additional TAs providing guidance for other sectors, such as the waste management sector, will be announced progressively. Among others, the TAs provide recommendations for:
- Service buyers and providers to reach mutual agreement to reprioritise, redeploy and reallocate service needs and adjust service fees payable;
- Service buyers to exercise restraint in activating liquidated damages, and pay their service providers appropriately;
- Service providers to remunerate their workers appropriately and ensure their workplace safety and health in view of the increased risk arising from COVID-19.
Crucial to ensure sustainability of outsourced services sectors
4 The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant disruptions to the demand and supply of services, including in sectors that rely heavily on outsourced manpower. The disruptions have impacted service buyers and service providers in such sectors, as well as the livelihoods of outsourced workers.
5 Service buyers play a critical role in ensuring the sustainability of service providers. This includes making reasonable business arrangements to enable service providers to continue to employ their workers and retain their capabilities even during a circuit breaker period or in a downturn so that services can be maintained during this period and resume further when businesses re-open and the economy starts to recover.
6 As the COVID-19 situation is likely to be drawn-out, unsustainable practices will compromise the ability of service providers to provide their services during this crucial period, and affect their longer-term viability. Such an outcome would be detrimental to service buyers, service providers, their outsourced workers, as well as the general public.
7 The COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult period and all stakeholders should share the responsibilities arising from changes in services required. The tripartite partners call on all stakeholders to work together, to review and reprioritise service needs, as well as explore voluntary renegotiation of contracts or payments for variations in services required. Outsourced workers should be recognised and remunerated appropriately, and their health cared for. This will ensure the sustainability of the respective outsourced sectors during and after this COVID-19 pandemic.
Quotes by tripartite partners
8 Minister of State for Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad, said “The tripartite advisories provide useful recommendations for service buyers and providers to ensure industry sustainability. During this period of disruption, it is vital for all stakeholders to be understanding of each other’s circumstances to reach mutually agreeable business arrangements. This will ensure the well-being of our outsourced workers – many of whom are working in essential services, and keep our surroundings safe and clean.”
9 NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari said, “Tripartite advisories are important as they serve to send a clear message to service buyers and providers when operations are impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to urge all service buyers and service providers to be responsible because any unfair and unilateral action on their part will affect the outsourced workers who are trying to earn an honest living. Amidst COVID-19, our outsourced workers put aside their fears and continue to work hard to support themselves and their families. Let us all do the right thing and support efforts to protect their wages, improve their welfare and safeguard their health in such challenging times.”
10 SNEF Vice President Mr Douglas Foo said, “Service buyers, service providers and outsourced workers are all impacted by COVID-19. These advisories will facilitate all key stakeholders to work together on a sustainable and responsible arrangement to help both service buyers and service providers to stay afloat, and outsourced workers to stay safe and stay employed. Nonetheless, taking into account the Jobs Support Scheme, I urge both service buyers and service providers to give special consideration to low wage outsourced workers to minimise the impact on them if any wage adjustment is necessary.”
Tripartite Advisory on Ensuring Sustainability of the Security Sector in view of COVID-19