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Panasonic To End Its Refrigeration Compressors Business in Singapore

Panasonic recently announced that it is ending its refrigeration compressor business in Singapore by the end of September 2022.

Panasonic Singapore's Refrigeration Devices Factory along Bedok S Road, Singapore. Credit: Panasonic

The decision to end the business was based on the challenging global business outlook and the company's long-term business strategic review of the business's portfolio.

Panasonic will consolidate the operations behind the business with its compressor manufacturing operations in its Malaysian and Chinese facilities, including the business's casting operation. The business's research and development department, meanwhile, will remain in Singapore, and its Asia Pacific headquarters located in Singapore will stay as the global head of its refrigeration compressor business.

According to the company, a total of 700 workers - half of which are Singaporeans and another 13% are permanent residents - will be laid off. However, it will assist all of them with job placements and ensure they are well supported by working with the relevant authorities, government agencies and the United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries (UWEEI).

The last working day of the first batch of the 700 workers will be on 31 March 2022, while the second and last batch will be on 30 September 2022.

The UWEEI, a labour union representing workers in Singapore's electronics and electrical sector, mentioned that it would continue working closely with Panasonic to ensure the 700 employees will be given the necessary assistance and support. The union also said that Panasonic is committed to paying its employees the retrenchment benefits recorded in the Collective Agreement, which is said to be higher than industry norms.

The union also made arrangements for Panasonic's retrenched employees to help them either find a job or reskill them for a position similar to their previous one. Through the assistance of the National Trade Union Congress's (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute and Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB), these arrangements include employability workshops, upskill or reskill training, job placement assistance, and in some cases, financial help through various assistance programs.

NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Chee Hong Tat said that some of the retrenched employees were sad to see Panasonic's production line closing down but understood why the company had to take this decision. He also commended Panasonic on its efforts and commitment to a fair retrenchment package for the affected employees.

"We also appreciate the strong support from [Panasonic] and [EDB] to work with NTUC and our training and placement ecosystem entities... to train the workers and help place them into new jobs after March 2022," he said. Employers and unioned companies who are growing and hiring were also encouraged to approach NTUC to help place Panasonic's employees.


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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