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Singapore's manpower ministry penalises firm for replacing local with foreign workers

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Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday said it has curbed the work pass privileges of Prime Gold International Pte Ltd (Prime Gold) for two years for retrenching Singaporeans and having them replaced by foreign workers.

SINGAPORE'S Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday said it has curbed the work pass privileges of Prime Gold International Pte Ltd (Prime Gold) for two years for retrenching Singaporeans and having them replaced by foreign workers.

This is the first time the ministry has taken action against a company that discriminated against its Singaporean employees.

No full description was provided for Prime Gold International, but an online check showed that the firm's business includes barge operations.

Prime Gold's former Singaporean employees, whom MOM said included "captains, chief officers, chief engineers, greasers and able-bodied seamen", complained to the ministry in June this year.

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Investigations by the ministry showed that Prime Gold retrenched 13 Singaporean workers in phases, and had their positions filled with new foreign workers, MOM said.

"Prime Gold claimed that the Singaporean employees were retrenched due to job redundancy and that the company was running losses. Prime Gold also pointed to their unsatisfactory work performance and their lack of relevant qualifications as reasons," MOM said.

But, "the rationale of the ex-employees' poor work performances and inadequate qualifications were not substantiated".

For this, the company was found to have breached the Fair Consideration Framework, which is aimed at ensuring that all firms consider Singaporeans fairly for job vacancies.

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