Workers’ union says Lazada dismissals ‘unacceptable’, escalates issue to Manpower Ministry

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SINGAPORE: The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), together with the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU), issued a statement on Jan 5 (Friday) on the retrenchment of Lazada workers earlier this week, expressing disappointment that the South East Asia e-commerce giant had dismissed workers without notifying the union.

Lazada Singapore is unionised under the FDAWU. The union has told Lazada Singapore that this action is “unacceptable,” adding that the issue has been escalated to the Ministry of Manpower.

Lazada greeted 2024 with a round of layoffs in Singapore, which is said to have affected senior and junior staff members. And while the retrenchments have been characterized as “sweeping”, the exact number of employees dismissed has not been disclosed.

The company is said to have let go of almost 100 workers in Singapore, and the dismissals are believed to be still ongoing. Lazada’s Human Resource department is said to have scheduled meetings until Jan 5.

Read related: ‘Sweeping’ lay-offs at Lazada Singapore as 2024 starts

NTUC has expressed solidarity with FDAWU and the affected workers, saying, “We, too, are extremely disappointed in this move by Lazada. NTUC would like to reiterate that it is critical for companies to work with their union to ensure that a fair and equitable process was carried out to safeguard the interests of all workers, especially our Singaporean core.”

It added an appeal for employers to follow fair and responsible retrenchment practices if layoffs are unavoidable.

“Companies must exhaust all other options before making the call to retrench employees. It also appeals 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 retrenchment, companies must ensure openness, transparency and consultation with unions and workers and observe the guiding principles outlined in NTUC’s Fair Retrenchment Framework [24 July 2020] and the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment,” said NTUC.

The media began reporting about the layoffs earlier this week. On Tuesday (Jan 2), senior and junior staff members received invitations to meetings with the company’s HR department.

A spokesman from Lazada said, “We are making proactive adjustments to transform our workforce, to better position ourselves for a more agile, streamlined way of working to meet future business needs.

This transformation necessitates that we reassess our workforce requirements and operational structure to ensure Lazada is better positioned to future-proof our business and people.”

Digital Industry Singapore (DISG) has said it is working closely with the e-commerce giant to help dismissed employees find other jobs.

The Economic Development Board (EDB), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), and the IMDA (Infocomm Media Development Authority) will be helping workers who were laid off by Lazada. /TISG

Read also: Gov’t to help laid-off Lazada workers with new jobs

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