Statement in relation to Resorts World Sentosa's retrenchment exercise
Statement attributable to MOM spokesperson
- The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) fully appreciates the anxiety experienced by workers involved in any retrenchment exercise. A small group of workers among those recently retrenched by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have raised concerns and sought additional assistance from the Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union (AREU) and MOM.
- Prior to the retrenchment exercise, RWS worked closely with AREU to ensure that the exercise would be carried out fairly and responsibly according to the Tripartite Advisories. With the most recent development, MOM and AREU have been meeting this group of workers to understand their specific concerns which includes (a) whether RWS has considered other options besides retrenchment, (b) the retrenchment benefit quantum, and (c) whether RWS had retained foreigners at the expense of local employees.
- Based on detailed information provided by RWS to AREU and MOM, we note the following:
- RWS made efforts to eliminate non-essential spending and reducing salaries of management by up to 30%. The retrenchment exercise was carried out after these measures has already been adopted. Similar to many companies in the tourism sector, COVID-19 had impacted RWS deeply as well with sharp declines in the flow of visitors to its casino and attractions. Business volume is unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels for the foreseeable future.
- On the retrenchment benefit paid, RWS adhered to the “Advisory on retrenchment benefit payable to retrenched employees as a result of business difficulties due to COVID-19”. Given the adverse impact on its business, RWS payment of 0.5 month per year of service for those who were retrenched and eligible for retrenchment benefit is within the limits of the tripartite guidelines for all firms in similar circumstances.
- The majority of workers retrenched were of foreign nationality. In all instances where a foreign employee and local employee had the same performance grade, preference was given to the local to be retained. In fact, for each category of workers, the foreign employee had to have a higher performance rating compared to the local employee, in order not to be retrenched. RWS also gave added consideration to retain local employees who stepped forward and volunteered to work at the Community Care Facility which RWS voluntarily set up in April 2020 to help Singapore fight COVID-19.
- Overall, after the retrenchment exercise, RWS has a stronger Singaporean Core. Its share of local workers has increased from 66% to 75%. We had also studied the impact of the exercise on RWS’ Casino Department’s Pit and Assistant Pit Supervisor section, as many local complainants from these sections had alleged discrimination against them. Following the retrenchment, the share of local workers in these sections also increased from 78% to 86%.
- MOM will continue to monitor retrenching companies for any unfair retrenchment practices. We remind employers to treat all workers with dignity and respect, and for the management to share the burden of cutting costs in order to save jobs.
- The Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation is working with AREU to provide outplacement and job search support for all affected RWS employees. The job search support will include a series of physical and virtual career advisory sessions and job search preparatory workshops offered by Workforce Singapore and NTUC’s e2i over four weeks. Through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package and NTUC’s Jobs Security Council, the affected employees will also be provided with job matching services, training opportunities and interview sessions to help them apply for and transit to new jobs.