Talk of Tight Labour Market Appears Farcical
If 2.9% of Singaporeans remain unemployed in a tiny country where 40% of the residents are foreigners it will be puerile to imagine that it is not a cause for concern. In fact, it is a huge number that should shake the government and business out of their smug recourse to persistent claims of a tight labour market.
That becomes all the more farcical when we see fresh graduates finding it difficult to get into the workforce, the retrenchment of locals rising, a fit but shunned silver generation languishing and qualified housewives staying at home. If the market is really tight why are these happening?
The Business Times carried a report last week about unemployment holding steady in Singapore. It has been reproduced in The Straits Times today. It pointed out that the overall unemployment rate in 2014 was 2% while it was 2.9% among Singaporeans. I assume locals suffer more than foreigners though I am not certain how the latter can continue to live here when they have no jobs.
Breach in Fair Practices: Fair practices are observed more in their breach than adherence. The prejudices employers, including MNCs that proudly proclaim they stand by fair practices, patronise related to a variety of factors, race, nationality, language and age not excluded.
Recently the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) launched a campaign to get employers here to sign a fair practice pledge. I, too, received a mail from them through LinkedIn, asking me to sign the pledge.
I thought that was a mild approach. Whether they pledge or not, fair practices must be mandatory. But unfair practices can be difficult to prove, a factor working to the advantage of deviant employers.
G Joslin Vethakumar