Layoffs a natural part of the business cycle

There are many complex reasons for major layoffs ("Layoffs send worrying signals"; Jan 7).

While they are regrettable, they are a natural part of the business cycle. In a free market economy, there is no way to stop them.

If a changing market can no longer support a business, then that business must change to adapt. Hard choices are sometimes required, especially if a company needs to restructure to keep its overheads lean.

By cutting down on excess and redundant positions, the company can have increased money, which helps keep the remaining employees in a job.

Companies must have the right to hire and fire whom they see fit, as long as they comply with the Employment Act. It is not the business of the Government to intervene and oblige them to keep their employees.

Switzerland, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Germany were cited as countries ranked highest among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in job security.

Today, even in these countries, jobs are no longer as secure.

In Japan, the culture of "lifetime employment" has diminished, with many businesses implementing mass layoffs. In return, employees are no longer as loyal to their employers.

In South Korea, those in the lower social classes experience more job insecurity due to unequal socioeconomic status, labour flexibility and globalisation.

It seems that we have to realise that the idea of a secure job is more of an illusion than a reality.

Francis Cheng