SINGAPORE, Jan 5 — E-commerce firm Lazada’s move to retrench workers without alerting their union — days after the New Year festivities — was slammed by the labour movement today.

In a strongly worded statement, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and its affiliated Food Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) said they are “deeply disappointed” with Lazada for initiating the layoffs without notifying and consulting the FDAWU.

FDAWU added that it has written to Lazada to express its disappointment, stating that such a move is “unacceptable”. It has also escalated the matter to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the statement said.

Lazada is unionised under the FDAWU.


The retrenchment exercise reportedly took place on Wednesday and yesterday.

Media reports estimated that Lazada had retrenched about 100 employees across different departments, and that the exercise is still ongoing.

CNA reported on Thursday that the layoffs happened as soon as employees stepped back into the office after the New Year, with some having to cancel their leave to attend meetings informing them of the news.


The exercise, which some Lazada employees reportedly described as “opaque” and “baffling”, had also left some in tears, CNA reported.

In its statement on Friday, NTUC assured affected Lazada employees that they can approach the FDAWU for help in looking for new jobs.

The labour movement, which represents over a million workers in the country, also reiterated that while retrenchments may be inevitable, they should only be used as a “last resort”.

“Companies must exhaust all other options before making the call to retrench employees,” said NTUC.

NTUC also appealed to companies to “be considerate about the timing of such exercises and to avoid doing such exercises during festive periods, as far as possible”.

In the event of a retrenchment exercise, companies must ensure “openness, transparency and consultation” with unions and workers, and observe the guiding principles outlined in NTUC’s Fair Retrenchment Framework, as well as the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment, NTUC added.

“NTUC would like to assure affected workers that you are our priority so please approach FDAWU ([email protected]) for assistance,” the statement said.

FDAWU will also enlist the help of NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute to assist them in their job search, it added.

TODAY has reached out to MOM for comment, and has also asked Lazada for more details on the rationale behind its retrenchment exercise, and whether it had considered other alternatives. — TODAY