SPH source: Retrenchment was messy

Disabled logins surprised IT desk.

Belmont Lay | October 15, 2017, 03:44 PM

More sources inside Singapore Press Holdings have come forward to give a sense of what occurred inside the Toa Payoh North offices.

At least one source wanted to share with the public the first-hand accounts of what happened on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.

This was the day the first batch of 130 employees from the media company got retrenched.

Could not log into system

One of the anecdotes that sources have confirmed was that some of the affected staff had sensed something was amiss only after they could not log into the company computers when they reported for work that day.

This apparently even occurred to one long-time staff who had spent more than 20 years in SPH.

How staff were notified was messy

According to the source inside SPH, what happened was that the logins of affected staff had been disabled.

Seeing the situation, the source then called the IT help desk inside SPH to find a solution.

The source said the IT help desk expressed surprise and was dumbfounded that this issue was happening to so many others as they were receiving numerous calls for assistance that day.

Supervisors were also caught out as they were not sure what was going on.


Called HR

When the IT department could not be of assistance, those affected then approached the human resource department.

When HR was contacted, the affected staff were "gently" referred back to the IT department for assistance in reinstating their accounts.

However, the source said that without authorisation rights, the IT department then had to get clearance from another department, which ultimately needed information from HR.

The source did not mention which other department was involved.

To the best of the source's knowledge, the first inkling that staff were marked for retrenchment was the disabled login accounts.

IT issue addressed the next day by SPH's editor-in-chief

Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of the English/ Malay/ Tamil Media Group at Singapore Press Holdings, held a townhall meeting with The Straits Times newsroom staff at 5pm on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017.

The issue of retrenched staff being unable to log into their computers was addressed in the meeting.

You can read a partial account of what happened by sources who were present here:

If you are one of those affected by Singapore Press Holdings retrenchment exercise, do contact us at [email protected] if you wish to share your experience. Your identity will be kept anonymous and any identifiers removed.

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