The estimated 2,000 employees laid off by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) last month as part of cost-cutting measures induced by COVID-19 were primarily foreign workers, according to the Ministry of Manpower.
Responding to queries by local media outlet The Straits Times, the Ministry said that it had worked closely with the integrated resort operator and the Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union (AREU) to ensure all retrenchments were carried out fairly and as per government guidelines. However, it also noted that the lay-offs had resulted in an increase to the percentage of local workers employed by RWS, up from 66% to 75%.
“Overall, after the retrenchment exercise, RWS has a stronger Singaporean core,” the Ministry said.
“In all instances where a foreign employee and local employee had the same performance grade, preference was given to the local to be retained. In fact, for each category of workers, the foreign employee had to have a higher performance rating compared to the local employee in order not to be retrenched.”
The Ministry added that locals employed as either pit or assistant pit supervisors had risen from 78% to 86%, with preference given to local employees who had earlier volunteered to work at a community care facility established by RWS in April to assist in fighting COVID-19.
It also noted that RWS itself had suffered immensely through the pandemic, “with sharp declines in the flow of visitors to its casino and attractions.
“Business volume is unlikely to return to pre-COVID levels for the foreseeable future.”
RWS operator Genting Singapore last week reported a loss of SG$163.3 million (US$119.1 million) in the three months to 30 June 2020 on the back of a 99% decline in gaming revenue at RWS to just SG$6.5 million (US$4.7 million).