So will the CEO of Surbana Jurong follow the Japanese practice, after the Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Tuesday (Feb 7) scolded Surbana Jurong in Parliament describing the company’s behaviour as unacceptable? The GLC had publicly labeled the 54 employees it sacked as poor performers,
Surbana Jurong is a Singaporean government-owned consultancy company focusing on infrastructure and urban development. It was formed in June 2015 with the merger of Surbana International Consultants and Jurong International Holdings. It is wholly owned by Temasek Holdings and has about 4,000 employees
Surbana Jurong group chief executive Wong Heang Fine said: “We cannot allow our 1 per cent of poor performers to continue to affect the rest of the 99 per cent of staff who are performing.” The company later said the process could have been better managed after even the running dog that is NTUC KPKBed.
“To the best of my recollection, this is the first time that an employer conducted such a major termination exercise and … labelled the workers as ‘poor performers’. I think as Manpower Minister, it’s something I do not find acceptable.”
Adding that one’s work environment and a company’s human resource practices may be contributing factors to performance: “I hope we will not come across another case where a company does a major termination and labels employees as having poor performance publicly.”
He said Surbana Jurong’s management and the unions reached an agreement on ex gratia payment, “which in our view is a fair outcome for the affected employees”.
The law on unfair dismissal
If an employee files an appeal of unfair dismissal to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the ministry will first mediate. Should that fail, MOM will conduct an inquiry and require the employer to produce evidence to justify the termination.
If the employer is unable to substantiate claims that the affected employee’s performance is poor, the employer may be ordered to reinstate the employee or provide compensation. If it does not comply, it can be prosecuted.
By settling Surbana Jurong has effectively admitted that it cocked-up.
Will the CEO accept Japanese style responsibility for cock-up? Or will it be usual “move on” that so discredits our so-called meritocracy system? Sadly the latter is more probable.
The PAP believes that “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”:
After all, a Surbana Jurong spokesperson said the matter had been resolved “amicably” with the unions, adding “It is currently reviewing our performance management processes to improve the system.”
This means that some S’porean human resources manager is going to get the sack (Replaced by a Peenoy or Arneigh FT? Cheaper leh.), while the CEO will continue smiling when he gets his monthly CPF statement like Lim Swee Say.