SIA Engineering joint venture reportedly retrenched 144 employees within 3 days in July

Some retrenched employees said that many veteran workers were also laid off.

Julia Yeo | July 28, 2020, 01:48 PM

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An SIA Engineering joint venture has been accused by its employees for being overly "radical" with its retrenchment exercises.

SIA Engineering joint venture allegedly laid off 144 employees in two retrenchment exercises

Eagle Services Asia Pte Ltd, an aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) joint venture between Singapore Airlines (SIA) Engineering Company and original equipment manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, reportedly executed two retrenchment exercises within three days, according to Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao.

Around 144 employees were reportedly retrenched by the company, according to employees who spoke to the Chinese daily.

However, many workers were unhappy with how the retrenchment exercises were executed, as they were only informed that they were on the list of workers being axed after arriving at work, and had to pack up and leave the place as soon as they received the notice.

Many employees were upset that they were not informed beforehand, and that the company failed to provide them with a reason for retrenching them, instead urging them to quickly leave the premises.

An ex-employee interviewed by the Chinese daily said, "I understand that the company needs to retrench workers, but they should at least treat us with respect!"

An unnamed reader told Lianhe Wanbao that 31 employees were suddenly laid off by the company on July 22.

A number of employees were called into the office at 10am that day, and only then was the retrenchment made known.

According to the reader, he was not part of the group being retrenched, but the company had failed to explain clearly how many employees were being laid off, resulting in some panic among the workers.

Based on the reader's understanding, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) later stepped in to negotiate with the company.

Unhappy with how company handled retrenchment exercises

On July 24, another 113 workers were retrenched from Eagle Services Asia.

During the second retrenchment exercise, some employees reportedly weren't even able to enter the premises of the company, and instead had to speak to the NTUC staff outside the office.

However, it was also reported that after discussion between the union staff and the company, some of the employees were allowed to take unpaid leave for the time being to wait for further news.

A retrenched employee contacted by the Chinese daily expressed disappointment regarding the company's retrenchment exercise, revealing that many of the employees laid off in the first exercise on July 22 were experienced veteran employees, and felt that the way that the company had handled the retrenchment exercise was inappropriate.

"This is a good company, I'm grateful towards them for letting me make a decent living for many years. But this treatment at the end is truly disappointing, it feels like the management doesn't respect us at all," he said.

Another retrenched employee also said that he understood the need for the retrenchment exercises due to the aviation industry badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but felt that the company should have handled it better and told them the reason why they were picked.

Some veteran employees were also upset that were "not even given a chance to say goodbye" to their old colleagues after working hard for the company for decades.

Out of the 31 people laid off on July 22, one of them had been working in the company for over 40 years. As he had a lot of items in the office, he required more time to clean up, one of the employees recalled.

However, the management allegedly kept urging him to leave the premises as soon as possible.

The veteran employee said, "You mean I don't even have a chance to say goodbye to everyone?"

The retrenched employee recalled that the atmosphere turned extremely awkward after that.

NTUC negotiating with parties involved

Regarding the retrenchment exercises at Eagle Services Asia, NTUC's spokesperson told Lianhe Wanbao that they have been negotiating with several parties, including Eagle Services Asia and Singapore Airlines Staff Union but have not come to a conclusion yet.

However, the spokesperson said that their job is to ensure that the employees are treated fairly and with dignity.

Eagle Services Asia did not respond to the Chinese daily for comment.

Top image via Journal-Aviation