|4,300 jobs to go in first quarter|
|Friday, 27 February 2009 08:00|
The figure is much higher than labour chief Lim Swee Say's estimate of 3,700, made just last weekend.In giving the bleak figures last night, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Halimah Yacob said the bulk of the retrenchments will come from the beleaguered electronics sector.
She said 2,700 workers from this sector could lose their jobs by the end of next month.This is more than the 2,374 layoffs the sector recorded for the whole of last year.The rest of the layoffs will come from the manufacturing sector, which is reeling as a result of plunging global demand.
Madam Halimah said that though the situation is worrying, there are some signs that it is improving.'Some companies in the electronics sector are reporting that they are securing more orders, and we can see the slide in numbers slowing a little,' she said.
She credited initiatives such as the Jobs Credit scheme and the Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (Spur) - a $600 million training plan aimed at helping workers upgrade and retrain - for mitigating the effects of the downturn.
'We need to do more and focus on retraining our workers and finding other jobs for those who have been displaced.'Madam Halimah was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar aimed at helping union members get legal help if they feel they have been unfairly dismissed or retrenched.
The seminar, jointly organised by NTUC and the Singapore Law Society, is the first of about four sessions to help rank-and-file workers as well as executives - better known as PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians).
More than 550 union leaders and representatives attended yesterday's seminar, conducted by lawyers.Mr Harold Seet, the Law Society's law awareness committee chairman, said the seminar was aimed at making union leaders aware of the rights of workers.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.