Tiger Beer’s parent company retrenches workers in restructuring exercise

SINGAPORE – Tiger Beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore (APBS) has retrenched about 30 workers in its latest restructuring exercise.

According to a retrenched employee who contacted The Straits Times, the laid-off workers were told on Nov 23. They were also asked to pack up and leave the company premises on the same day.

In the letter of termination sent out to affected employees seen by ST, the last day of employment for affected employees was stated as Dec 31.

When contacted, APBS confirmed that 33 workers were affected by the latest restructuring.

A spokesman said in an e-mail to ST: “In line with changing market realities in Singapore, APBS has made some changes to our operations… Unfortunately, a number of roles were impacted through this restructuring process.”

The spokesman added: “We are grateful to the contribution of the affected employees and have provided all necessary support as aligned with the union and retrenchment guidelines.”

APBS workers are represented by the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU), which is affiliated to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

According to the FDAWU’s latest collective agreement with APBS dated June 8, 2021, the company has to give retrenched workers one month’s notice of termination or pay them one month’s gross salary in lieu of notice. The company is also required to negotiate with the union the retrenchment benefits and ex gratia payments to be paid to affected workers.

NTUC has not responded to queries from ST sent on Nov 27 so far, but the newspaper understands that affected employees will receive one month of severance pay for each year of service. They will also be entitled to their annual wage supplement and performance bonus for 2023.

The affected employee said: “The company is visibly shocked at the news. It came as a surprise and it was kept a secret until the exercise on Nov 23.

“During town halls, employees were also told that the company is doing well and meeting financial targets. Hence, many (workers) cannot reconcile the business performance with the (retrenchment) exercise.”

The employee added: “Initially, it was difficult for me to accept that the company has abandoned me, but I have come to accept it.”

According to APBS’ profile on LinkedIn, it is a part of The Heineken Company and it has between 201 and 500 employees in Singapore.

The Ministry for Manpower requires companies who have more than 10 employees and are registered in Singapore to notify the ministry of retrenchment exercises within five working days of the exercise.

When contacted, MOM said: “Notifying MOM of retrenchment exercises will enable Workforce Singapore, the tripartite partners – the Ministry of Manpower, NTUC and the Singapore National Employers Federation – and other relevant agencies to help affected employees find alternative employment and/or identify relevant training to enhance employability.”

According to MOM statistics released in October, the number of retrenchments and unemployed residents in Singapore rose in the third quarter of 2023 as a weaker economic outlook dragged down the economy. Retrenchments rose by 900, from 3,200 in the second quarter to 4,100 in the third quarter, with the majority of the increase from wholesale trade.

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