Singapore’s only one of two casino operators Resort World Sentosa (RWS) ran into losses and yesterday (June 10), announced that it is retrenching workers to keep itself afloat. RWS made a press release yesterday saying that local retrenched workers will be offered only S$1,500 in “training grant” and a 12-month NTUC union membership fee worth S$117, on top of an undisclosed compensation package.
Former RWS employees complained that RWS stopped renewing work permit passes and did not offer compensation to those whose work permit lapsed. Other foreign and local former employees were recently (May 27) given a voluntary retrenchment scheme where they get half a month salary for every year they served (RWS was built only in 2010). They were given only 4 days to make a decision. Former employees who were on maternity leaves were all retrenched. Many former RWS employees criticized the compensation packages as “poor”
Despite the shabby treatment of retrenched workers, RWS claimed that it laid off 375 employees in a “responsible, transparent and sensitive manner” and asserted that it has been very fair because it has complied to the NTUC’s ” tripartiteguidelines”.
“We understand it is a difficult time for our affected employees and we have been working closely with the Ministry of Manpower and the Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union to ensure that we extend fair terms to all affected employees. We have adopted the Tripartite Guidelines on Managing Excess Manpower in carrying out this decision.
In anticipation that the business situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon, we have made a difficult decision to reduce manpower. We regret to inform that your position has been made redundant. This decision is made after very careful considerations and unsuccessful attempts to find you another position.”
According to a media release in Feb 20, RWS lost S$7.8 million in the 4th quarter of 2015 resulting from increase in bad debt and falling number of VIP visits.
PAP Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo spoke up for RWS and defended the casino saying that RWS is fair and has even “gone one step further” than its obligation:
“By and large, we told RWS that if retrenchment is inevitable, do follow established guidelines about managing excess manpower, which was published two to three weeks ago. And I think that they abided by that. In fact, they decided to go one step further and offer a training grant. For those of them whom for business operations reasons, they cannot serve the notice period, they will pay notice … one month’s notice in lieu of that. So I think they’ve been as fair as they can.”