TL;DR – Recommendations aimed at supporting mature PMEs will also be revealed later this year.
Humans have a default mode in their brains that leads them to worry, especially when it comes to things that impact them directly.
Hence, it came as no surprise to me when Straits Times Forum writer Ms Ho See Ling, who is in the 40-to-60 age group, took to the forum to express the concerns she has regarding the employment of older workers.
I mean, you can’t blame her for being worried when you have article after article about how professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs), particularly older ones, are becoming the most vulnerable ones and affected by retrenchments, right?
Incidents of discrimination
In her letter, she noted that despite the work done by NTUC and the tripartite partners over the years to enhance and safeguard employability prospects for mature workers, however, the reality is that more mature workers are facing difficulties in getting jobs.
She then recounted some of her experiences where she faced such unpleasant discrimination.
Ho alleged that an HR personnel cancelled an interview with her after she was asked to complete an application form with details including her date of birth, despite being impressed with her profile.
She was “ghosted” by another recruiter who had asked for the year she graduated from university.
The human resources department of an established multinational corporation gave a separation agreement to employees in the 40-to-60 age group, asking these employees to sign the form and state that they were resigning voluntarily from their position during phase two of Singapore’s reopening. The company then compensated this group of employees with three months of salary.
Ho also added that retirees on contract and those nearing retirement were advised to bring forward their retirement and given the same compensation.
Labour MP Patrick Tay responded
On May 6 (Thursday), a letter titled “Task force to release findings on supporting professionals, managers and executives” written by Labour MP Patrick Tay in response to the forum letter was published.
In his reply letter, the Labour MP acknowledged that the issue of age discrimination has surfaced in the surveys and focus group discussions which the National Trades Union Congress-Singapore National Employers Federation joint task force on PMEs conducted over the last six months. He then added that the task force is also planning to release its findings and recommendations aimed at advocating and supporting mature PMEs in the latter half of this year, in order to address the issue.
The Labour MP also assured that the NTUC will continue to help union members who are seeking employment support, by working with NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and the NTUC Job Security Council.
At the same time, NTUC will also continue to champion the rights of mature workers, including PMEs aged 40 and above, who are particularly concerned about age discrimination, he added.
The member of parliament then concluded his letter by assuring that he will continue to raise challenges faced by PMEs in Parliament and he also urges for more PMEs to join the union as members, so that NTUC can better represent PMEs’ interests and speak up for them,
“With a larger base and louder voice, we can represent PMEs more effectively and make real, solid changes for the better.”
Hmm, something like Unity is Strength, I guess?