“We need to take further steps to strengthen the Singaporean Core by levelling the playing field for our Singaporean PMEs and ensuring fairness,” says Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
In a recent session in parliament, labour MP Patrick Tay shared some anxieties and fears that the economic disruption brought about by COVID-19 has brought on the Singaporean PMEs; in particular mature PMEs aged 40 and above.
As co-chair of the NTUC-PME Taskforce, labour MP Patrick Tay has engaged more than 9,000 PMEs over the past 6 months. In a recent taskforce survey of 1,000 mature PMEs, some of the anxieties and fears that have been brought up stem from job security as many struggle to fight against unfair and discriminatory hiring practices for locals.
In his speech, labour MP Patrick Tay also shared the grievances that mature PMEs have gone through, such as unfair and ridiculous contractual terms that force them to turn down job offers, displacement due to preferential treatment for foreign workers and more.
Having lobbied for the strengthening of the Singapore Core since 2011, labour MP Patrick Tay in his speech also proposed some improvements to reach this goal.
Ensuring fairness for Singaporeans
Ensure fair hiring practices by improving HR standards and practices by equipping companies with adequate knowledge of employment legislation and regulations to improve compliance with fair employment practices.
To ensure that locals should also have fair access to PME roles and progression opportunities in high growth sectors, a structured and mandatory skills and knowledge transfer from foreign PMEs to local PMEs within a stipulated time frame needs to be implemented.
Stricter punishment and penalties for errant companies
Labour MP Patrick Tay also mentioned that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) should review the existing legal and policy framework, which would give the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) more expanded powers of investigation, enforcement and punishment against companies, employers and individuals who discriminate in an employment context.
Enhance EP application review process
Level the playing field for local PMEs by enhancing the EP application review process to move beyond looking at the individual applicant’s educational qualification and salary. Labour MP Patrick Tay recommended incorporating a point system that considers factors such as whether or not the employer has been investing in hiring and developing local workers, the diversity of nationalities and support from the sectoral tripartite expert committee.
You can read up on his full speech and adjournment motion in parliament on his Facebook post here.
Thank you and kudos to Mr Patrick Tay!