Resorts World Sentosa retrenchments affected mostly foreigners, says Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower

The entrance to the casino at Resorts World Sentosa. ― TODAY pic
The entrance to the casino at Resorts World Sentosa. ― TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Aug 6 — Most of the workers laid off by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) in mid-July were foreign nationals and the attractions operator chose to retain Singapore workers over foreign ones with the same performance grade, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said.

After the retrenchment exercise, the share of Singapore workers in RWS’ workforce rose from 66 per cent to 75 per cent, MOM said on Thursday (Aug 6) in an update three weeks after the layoffs were made public.

MOM said that a small group of retrenched workers had raised concerns about the matter and approached the ministry and the Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union (AREU) for extra help.  

The ministry also disclosed that RWS’ retrenchment benefits of half a month for each year of service fell within the limits of the tripartite guidelines for firms affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

The resort and casino operator, when announcing its layoffs in July, had declined to disclose the number of employees affected.

In deliberating the retrenchments, RWS also factored in additional consideration to retain Singapore employees who had volunteered to work at the Covid-19 community facility that the integrated resort had voluntarily set up in April, MOM said.

It added that it had received many complaints from Singapore employees who worked as pit supervisors in RWS’ casino department, who had alleged that there was discrimination against them.

However, after the retrenchment, MOM found that the share of Singapore workers in these sections had risen from 78 per cent to 86 per cent.

MOM noted the operator’s efforts to cut cost before its retrenchment exercise, which included eliminating non-essential spending and cutting the salaries of its management by up to 30 per cent.

 “Similar to many companies in the tourism sector, Covid-19 had impacted RWS deeply as well, with sharp declines in the flow of visitors to its casino and attractions. Business volume is unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels for the foreseeable future,” MOM said.

The ministry will continue to monitor retrenching companies for any unfair retrenchment practices.

“We remind employers to treat all workers with dignity and respect, and for the management to share the burden of cutting costs in order to save jobs,” it said.

A governmental task force, comprising manpower officials and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), is working with AREU to help retrenched workers find jobs through career advisory sessions and workshops, the ministry said.

They will also get job matching help and training opportunities through NTUC’s Jobs Security Council and the new SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to help them apply for and transit into new jobs. ― TODAY

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