500 workers retrenched from hard-drive firm HGST, union to help

Western Digital company HGST, which makes hard-drives, retrenched 500 employees on Friday. But the firm has committed to ensuring "fair compensation and treatment" for those workers, the United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries (UWEEI) said in a statement.

The union said that it was informed of HGST's "plans to enhance competitiveness", including the retrenchment, in early November. "While we are saddened by this exercise, we understand that the company faces keen challenges to maintain cost competitiveness," said UWEEI executive secretary and National Trades Union Congress deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How.

Besides meeting the industry norms for retrenchment terms, the company will also extend the workers' hospitalisation and surgical insurance coverage in Singapore until March, and pay union membership dues for the same period.

In addition, UWEEI and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) will hold a job fair for the affected workers on January 16, at e2i. The union has encouraged companies from the same sector to take part. So far, 24 companies have signed up and about 500 vacancies will be available. About 300 jobseekers are expected. UWEEI and e2i will also arrange for workers who are Singaporean or permanent residents to attend employability camps and executive workshops before the job fair.