Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Yes, jobs of foreign workers are being cut" says anonymous official from MOM

This is a report from Mizzima News,
Singapore cut jobs of migrants

by The The & Myint Maung
Monday, 10 November 2008 14:08

New Delhi – With at least 10 Burmese workers in Singapore getting laid off in the past two weeks, workers in Singapore worries that more will follow in the coming days as Singapore harbours itself from the impacts of global financial meltdown.

"I was on this job for two months. My job is to supervise about 100 workers under me. They fired me on the ground of inefficiency," a Burmese worker who was sacked from 'Engmech' Construction Company in Singapore told Mizzima.

While Engmech refuse to comment on the firing, the Burmese worker said he felt it could be due to the global financial crisis.

"Firing me from the job coincided with the fall in stock prices. I don't think they have any more projects to employ us. There might be further job cuts," he said.

Another worker, who was dismissed from 'Sheng Wong' Construction Company said, "They fired me on account of lack of language proficiency. They said that I could not understand their language well and neither could I do the jobs assigned to me well enough."

Apart from Burmese workers, over 180 foreign workers from Philippines, Bangladesh, India and China have been fired so far from their jobs at 'Enmech' Construction Company," a Burmese worker who was sacked from the company said.

According to him, most of them recently fired from their jobs have poor educational background and little experience. Some of them have been here for only a few months with work permits.

However, the company that fires the employees says the workers are sacked basically because of their poor performance and not as an impact of the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, an official from Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the job cuts saying, "Yes, jobs of foreign workers are being cut".

But the official declined to give details on why workers were being fired and how many have been dismissed from their jobs so far.

When contacted, most of the companies, said that they were not cutting jobs because of the global economic crisis. But Xinhua news agency quoting the Minister of Trade and Industry reported on October 20 that Singapore was affected by the international financial crisis. The report quoted the Minister Lim Hing Kiang said that the global economic slowdown has affected the Singapore economy and domestic companies.

A few days after that, Singapore companies resorted to wage cuts of foreign workers working in their companies, some Burmese workers said.

A Burmese worker, employed in a computer parts manufacturing company said, "Our Company has not cut jobs yet but they are going to resort to wage cuts. We have heard that those earning under US$ 3,000 will face 6 per cent cuts in their wages and those earning over US$ 3,000 will have to bear 20 per cent cuts."

"The newcomers are facing many more difficulties here. The old ones are suffering only wage cuts," he added.

About 50,000 to 60,000 Burmese workers earn a livelihood in Singapore.

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