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

  1. #21

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    In my years of working experience, I have been training staff and seeing them leave once they are ready to take on new challenges. Initially I feel frustrated, but after due consideration of our society, I am happy for them.
    Thumbs up for you

  2. #22

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchRival View Post


    As i said before somewhere in another thread (can't find anymore), sg got two things grossly wrong.

    First, sg should never compete with numbers. A lot of foreign mncs tell the govt they demand XXX number of workers, so the govt bring in lots of FTs to meet the demand, hoping the mnc will eventually set up here.

    Second, sg should never try to compete with cost. The govt bring in large number of FTs, but despite increase in labour supply, plus all the carrots, sg still can't beat the neighbouring countries in the long run.

    If a foreign mnc comes to sg, and if the workforce are mainly PRCs, Vietnamese, Indians, etc, the mnc will eventually run road to go Vietnam, Thailand, China or India to set up where labour is the same but the costs there are way lower.

    Some people may see this retrenchment as something that is bound to happen, because since WD bought over HGST, restructuring and cutbacks would have been inevitable. But this doesn't change the fact sg is unable to retain tech manufacturing, and this is merely the latest retrenchments since a decade ago.
    precisely. i see many companies branch out the oversea or malaysia. at the end of the day, they always complain about quality when they come back. not long ago, a manager send goods manufactured in malaysia back for QC. just how bad QC is over there. Singapore should really work on the Quality which we already acquired over the years and our core values

  3. #23

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dreaming View Post
    precisely. i see many companies branch out the oversea or malaysia. at the end of the day, they always complain about quality when they come back. not long ago, a manager send goods manufactured in malaysia back for QC. just how bad QC is over there. Singapore should really work on the Quality which we already acquired over the years and our core values
    Unfortunately, quality is really difficult to quantify. Top management is usually pressured to reduce costs, and a shift to a cheaper location is always the first instinct.

    Perhaps the core question ought to be if the manufacturing industry is something that Singapore should continue to focus on? Especially when we face such keen competition from our neighbors.
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  4. #24

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    Don't blame today work force for not being loyal. They need to protect their own interest first. In my years of working experience, I have been training staff and seeing them leave once they are ready to take on new challenges. Initially I feel frustrated, but after due consideration of our society, I am happy for them.
    Hi there! I infer from your post that you work in the training / human resource field? It would be interesting to hear from the HR perspective, especially when they are usually the ones who have to break the news to the staff.

    As a Gen Y, (born in the 80's y'all!) I think we are brought up with 2 core ideas about joining the workforce.

    1. That we ought to pursue our dreams and aspirations (I wouldn't want to go into deep debate into this.)

    2. That loyalty is for suckers these days. All that talks is money and ability to contribute. (I have seen my dad getting retrenched, despite having been with the organization all his life. My friends, technically, got retrenched at 25. Unlike my dad, who took it fairly negatively, my peers and I were so amused at our predicament!)

    So I am happy to hear that a member of the training / human resource community is able to see it from the perspective you mentioned, since such behavior is in opposition to your interests as a trainer / human resource manager.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    Toady the ST reports that a technician was retrenched 4 times in 10 years working in the electronics industry. Why did he stayed on in the same industry and not move on to do something else?
    Well, I can only say that some people are less adventurous, more risk adverse, and are willing to settle for less. If he is willing to give other things a try, he may surprise himself. After all, we all know the electronics sector is not exactly a shining star in Singapore. Perhaps a move to hospitality, retail, property management, waste management or logistics may be wiser and more exciting, as there is clearly more growth in these sectors. I have personally jumped into a wholly different and arguably unglamorous sector and was very surprised with myself after having been in the new industry for 3 years now.

    Even if he prefers to stay within the technical realm, I would not think a move into energy, facilities management or even the air-conditioner micro-sector to be too daunting. Unfortunately, some people lack the courage, others lack the connection. However, I think the attitude and drive to succeed is what will divide the mediocre and the best.




    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    Someone also said that retrenchment isn't bad as long as one is prudent with their finance!
    Every soldier goes to war with at least a loaded gun. Likewise, a war chest will come in handy to tide one through the tough times as one attempts to pick up new skills and join a new sector. Many a time, I always hear of people complaining at how they would be in a mess the moment they lose their jobs. My first question is, what is your savings rate? Surely, you cannot be earning $1 to spend a $1.

    Sure, we all have to take some risks in life. A roof over the head is usually a 30-year liability, and no one can be sure what will happen over the 30 years. However, if you find yourself practically spending almost everything you are earning, you would be in serious trouble.

    A small war chest to ensure that your liabilities are covered for at least the next 6 months is very sensible - 6 months will provide one with sufficient time to find a new job, develop new skills, build new relationships. Scale down your expenditure a little, and you may even find yourself surviving well into the 9th month.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    When we say all these, we need to be in their shoes to better understand the situation. If you don't have job security and need one badly, chances are you don't have that bargaining power but to accept whatever that come by. Don't even think or consider planning because you are not in control.
    The trick is to enhance your bargaining power via lifelong learning and a strong network. I am typically quite puzzled by the call for job security. I think the drive for job security leads people to do the exact opposite of what I mentioned in my previous sentence. To obtain job security, people tends to focus solely on their jobs, achieving depth, but little breadth. They tend to move within the same circle, and in an extreme case, deliberately entrench themselves to make themselves "indispensable".

    My personal philosophy is to make myself obsolete as quickly as possible. Spend the first 1/3 of your job learning and perfecting your role. Learn what adds value, learn what doesn't. Spend the next 1/3 of your job doing, not only the perfect job, but also learn about the next role, be it an upstream role, or an adjacent role. Learn to see from your boss's perspective. What do they see, what do they want? You would be amazed at how different the superior and his subordinate may think of the same situation. Spend the last 1/3 of your job grooming a successor, because someone has to take over your role before you can move on. Through the last 1/3, you would learn more about mentoring, teaching, coaching and grooming. These skills are important as you move on to your next role.
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  5. #25

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    My personal belief: no one owes you a living nor a job.

    U got to think for yourself. Since no one owes you a job, u better think of ways to make yourself employable and keep up with times. Upgrade, learn and network with more ppl.

    The very person who got entrench 4 times in same electronic industry within 10 years, is obviously not upgrading and not networking with more ppl.

    He keep going around in a circle. Keep going back to the old circle of friends, same industry, and getting into same problem of jobless.

  6. #26

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

    Quote Originally Posted by donut88 View Post
    My personal belief: no one owes you a living nor a job.

    U got to think for yourself. Since no one owes you a job, u better think of ways to make yourself employable and keep up with times. Upgrade, learn and network with more ppl.

    The very person who got entrench 4 times in same electronic industry within 10 years, is obviously not upgrading and not networking with more ppl.

    He keep going around in a circle. Keep going back to the old circle of friends, same industry, and getting into same problem of jobless.
    You sound like one of those gov standard answer

    Things are not as easy as it seem.

    Many companies don't want to hire people without relevant experiences.

    If they do hire people with relevant experiences, you are expect to get a very very very steep pay cut from your previous salary.

    Some people with families cannot accept such a huge pay cut so they went back to the same industry where they can get a pay increment rather than a pay cut.

    Beside, most of their network are friends who studied together in school, who are also in the same industry. How do you expect them to venture out of their own industry ?
    I eats, shoots & leaves

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yutaka Go View Post

    You sound like one of those gov standard answer

    Things are not as easy as it seem.

    Many companies don't want to hire people without relevant experiences.

    If they do hire people with relevant experiences, you are expect to get a very very very steep pay cut from your previous salary.

    Some people with families cannot accept such a huge pay cut so they went back to the same industry where they can get a pay increment rather than a pay cut.

    Beside, most of their network are friends who studied together in school, who are also in the same industry. How do you expect them to venture out of their own industry ?
    do u make new friends?

  8. #28

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

    Quote Originally Posted by donut88 View Post
    do u make new friends?
    Would you ask a new friend, who don't have relevant experiences and no relevant certs to join your company ?

    How do you justify to your top management to hire him ?
    I eats, shoots & leaves

  9. #29
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    Default Re: 500 workers retrenched from hard-drive firm HGST, union to help

    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    Since the 70 we are not new to retrenchment, especially the electronics. One of the better company here is HP and they have been here for donkey years.

    While is is fair that investors interest have to be protected before we can attract them to invest here, they cannot be coming in to make money and run away the minute they are not making enough. When a Singapore join such a company after they graduated and spend 10 years with the company, his most productive years are already sold to that company. Who then is protecting their interest?

    Someone ever share this with me. An employee in Singapore is like a lady. When they are young and pretty, they got married to a guy. Both work hard to build a family. Once they are financially better off, the has and now want a younger a prettier wife. She is like a Singaporean worker marrying to a wrong husband. You can't rewind the clock but accept that you should have done more before it happen.
    Ultimately, one has to make the right choice of who will protect Your interest better. LOL
    You hv to choose the right hubby every 4 yrs
    Last edited by d2xpeter; 28th December 2013 at 09:07 PM.

  10. #30

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Yutaka Go View Post
    Would you ask a new friend, who don't have relevant experiences and no relevant certs to join your company ?

    How do you justify to your top management to hire him ?
    I don't think that's what donut88 meant. From his previous post he recommends expanding your social network - meet new people outside your circle. And not just work.
    I'd agree to a certain extent - volunteering, people of the same interest, hobbies, religion, etc.
    And to qualify what I mean to a certain extent, don't put a motive behind it; don't expect to get anything out of it except as an opportunity to learn new things, different viewpoints, new ways of doing things, grow ideas, knowledge beyond your zone, how others live and lead their lives, influence others in a positive way and accept in reciprocation because somehow someday perhaps even in the most insignificant way, you could have contributed to making the world a slightly better place than if you didn't.
    Okay I'll step off my soapbox now
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  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zichar View Post

    I don't think that's what donut88 meant. From his previous post he recommends expanding your social network - meet new people outside your circle. And not just work.
    I'd agree to a certain extent - volunteering, people of the same interest, hobbies, religion, etc.
    And to qualify what I mean to a certain extent, don't put a motive behind it; don't expect to get anything out of it except as an opportunity to learn new things, different viewpoints, new ways of doing things, grow ideas, knowledge beyond your zone, how others live and lead their lives, influence others in a positive way and accept in reciprocation because somehow someday perhaps even in the most insignificant way, you could have contributed to making the world a slightly better place than if you didn't.
    Okay I'll step off my soapbox now
    It's ok. He doesn't get it

  12. #32
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    Default Re: 500 workers retrenched from hard-drive firm HGST, union to help

    I am sure those who have live through the early 60+ racial riot, 70+ electronic crisis, 80* energy crisis, 90 Eastern Asian Financial crisis, 2009-European Sovereign Debt Crisis, SAR, etc. know very well dream and survival are just 2 separate things. As a small country are able to sustain till today despite all these is because we stick together during the difficult times. Employees are not just an unit but part of the big family.

    When you have a family to feed and the economy is uncertain, not everyone is able to switch job or look for something that interest them. All he want is to ensure there will be food on the table for the next meal. Ideally, you shouldn't be spending every dollar you earned but about 35 - 40 % of what you earn put into saving. This is just nice talk for those that have to take on 2 jobs to survive. We must remember that while many are looking at holidays and buying newer DSLR, there are some looking forward for some overtime job during their off days.

    Additional paper qualifications will definitely help especially here in Singapore. We are an academically based society. It is only until 2000+ that distance learning and the opening up of our local educational system, allow those falling behind to pick up the badly required papers. Not all are equipped with the academic talent. If everyone is a PHD holder, who will be the blue collar workers?

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    I am sure those who have live through the early 60+ racial riot, 70+ electronic crisis, 80* energy crisis, 90 Eastern Asian Financial crisis, 2009-European Sovereign Debt Crisis, SAR, etc. know very well dream and survival are just 2 separate things. As a small country are able to sustain till today despite all these is because we stick together during the difficult times. Employees are not just an unit but part of the big family.

    When you have a family to feed and the economy is uncertain, not everyone is able to switch job or look for something that interest them. All he want is to ensure there will be food on the table for the next meal. Ideally, you shouldn't be spending every dollar you earned but about 35 - 40 % of what you earn put into saving. This is just nice talk for those that have to take on 2 jobs to survive. We must remember that while many are looking at holidays and buying newer DSLR, there are some looking forward for some overtime job during their off days.

    Additional paper qualifications will definitely help especially here in Singapore. We are an academically based society. It is only until 2000+ that distance learning and the opening up of our local educational system, allow those falling behind to pick up the badly required papers. Not all are equipped with the academic talent. If everyone is a PHD holder, who will be the blue collar workers?
    I don't think you have sufficiently considered my points. In any case, allow me to reveal more about myself.

    1. I am tertiary educated, but I am currently working in a blue collar industry - I handled over 300 blue collared employees at one point, and I understand their predicament. However, I have also noticed some stars, young individuals who are not terribly educated, but have a dedicated plan to escape the rat race. Then, there are also the mediocre folks who "do the right thing", but starting a family, working hard to pay the bills, almost to the point of exhaustion. Well, we each choose our own lives, but we cannot be blaming everyone else when life deals us a bad hand.

    2. If there are people still looking for a job, I am most happy to assist you in getting a role in my organization. If the applicant is looking for a new role to match his/her former pay, I'd think that the applicant will be sorely disappointed. If he/she adopts a positive spirit, I have many success stories where our entry level blue collared employees work their way to management ranks. And no, it didn't take 10-20 years to get there. Much sooner.

    3. As mentioned by another CSer, you make your own difference to your life. If you continue to take it negatively, assume the the job is yours and blame everyone else when the music has ended, then life is likely to get bitter.

    But if you live life expecting to get retrenched, and make positive steps to anticipate and remedy the situation, then the world would be a happier place.

    I'd know - my dad got retrenched, and I was unemployed for a short while. My dad was quite affected, but family support and smart financial planning (we were all debt free a long while ago), made sure that we are still ok. Just to let you know, my dad is also a blue collared worker and he hasn't gone on a holiday for decades and the last big ticket item he bought was a LCD TV 5 years ago. And nothing else.

    I tided through my unemployment after my foray into finance with my earnings I made while studying in university. My war chest was small, but it was enough to handle my loans and allowed me to live financially independent. And oh, I usually did at least 2 jobs back when I was a student. At one point, even 3. But the difference is, I take the higher paying ones. :-)
    Last edited by Blur Shadow; 29th December 2013 at 08:57 AM.
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  14. #34
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    What you have shared is not wrong. This is only possible for those presently not struggling to find ends meet and our economy is still healthy. They would be glad that they know there are people like you who is able to give support.

    That technician that got retrenched didn't know he would be retrenched too. Lucky for him, our economy is still healthy. He is Likely to find a new job soon, I sincerely hope so. The worst situation is when such thing happen, it is during recession time. Will that job still be available for him?

    In good times, we all enjoy the fruits and in bad times, we need to take care of those who have fallen. There must be a system to provide that cushion. I am not advocating those incentives given out by the EU.

    More protections for the local workers is needed. Not to spoilt them but to ensure they have a peace of mind to think further. Like you said, plan ahead. If they are always worrying of their next meal, there will be no planning.

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yutaka Go View Post

    Would you ask a new friend, who don't have relevant experiences and no relevant certs to join your company ?

    How do you justify to your top management to hire him ?
    U sounded like a student.

    I don't sound like a standard government answer because retrenchment happens in every country. US has the most recent crisis and still struggling today. And u go check what the jobless Americans are doing. Don't take it from me. Go see how a jobless guy can enter in a new industry.

    I can tell u. When u are jobless, like the technician, u better get yr butt moving around in new circles of friends. There are 101 ways of doing it. Our ITE, polys and other training centres have 101 courses for technical skills and non technical skills. And all of them have WDA or some schemes for jobless ppl to pay just 5% fee.

    The main benefit of going to such courses is to meet new friends. Every sort of ppl attend such courses, from workers to big bosses. U think what kind of potential opportunities for a jobless person to land a new job through this networking? Sometimes there may be business opportunities to form partnerships

    Who say there is no way to make new friends?

    U know why there so many ppl taking MBAs? This is not for the stupid paper. MBA courses are for networking. Ppl get into the program, to know other classmates who may be bosses or higher levels in same or totally different industries. And these are the ppl who can open doors for u.

    Stop being so myopic thinking. There are many ways to network.

    Be a volunteer in grassroots, charities, and any other organisations where u can meet more ppl

  16. #36

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

    Networking doesn't really help when your friends in other industries are also jobless like you.

    Making career switch is not that simple. Companies in SG look at your certs and experiences.
    Networking alone will not get you very far.
    Your friends cannot get you in the door if you don't have the certs.
    Some times, having the right certs also doesn't help you.
    Companies don't like to spent money on training.
    No relevant experiences mean your resume is in the trash as soon as it reach the table of the HR department.
    Many people in SG end up as taxi drivers although they have Engineering certs because many companies don't want them.

    Speaking from my personal experience, my 1st job is in the HD industry in 1997.

    I went to studied for an IT degree when I saw the manufacturing industry in SG is sinking after 1997 crisis.
    I was fortunate to get a job as a programmer while studying for my degree ( 1 year contract renewable )
    but I have to accept a steep pay cut.
    When I finally got my degree, there was the SARs crisis and Sg have another recession.
    It is only after 4 years as contract programmer that I got another permanent job in another company as programmer.

    My successful case is mainly due to the fact that I am single and I don't have any loans to pay.
    Friends of mine, who are still in the HD industry are not so lucky.
    They have got married and have housing loan to pay.
    Steep pay cut is difficult to accept when you have such a large debt.
    With family commitment, addition free time to get another certs is also difficult.


    Therefore, you don't make it sound like making career switch is a piece of cake.
    I eats, shoots & leaves

  17. #37

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    It's not a piece of cake (and i don't think donut88 meant it that way too)

    But if people only keep giving excuses like "it's not easy", "not a 100% success rate" "it might not happen" or "from my experience" and the like, and not even bother to give it a shot or just let yourself languish in that scenario.... Then 100% nothing will happen in your favor

  18. #38

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

    Quote Originally Posted by kei1309 View Post
    It's not a piece of cake (and i don't think donut88 meant it that way too)

    But if people only keep giving excuses like "it's not easy", "not a 100% success rate" "it might not happen" or "from my experience" and the like, and not even bother to give it a shot or just let yourself languish in that scenario.... Then 100% nothing will happen in your favor
    I just want him to understand that having a new certs and network with new friends, doesn't mean it will solve everyone problem.

    Your new friends must be in a position ( Managing Director ) where he can influence the decision of hiring new staff.

    Your new company must be willing to accept staff with no relevant experience and lousy certs (Not from top university).

    Unfortunately, not everyone have that kind of opportunity.

    That is why you see many people went to drive taxi.
    I eats, shoots & leaves

  19. #39

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Yutaka Go View Post
    Your new friends must be in a position ( Managing Director ) where he can influence the decision of hiring new staff.
    Hello, what you are saying is cronyism. Please note that we are a purely meritocratic society.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: 500 workers retrenched from hard-drive firm HGST, union to help

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchRival View Post
    Hello, what you are saying is cronyism. Please note that we are a purely meritocratic society.
    No, this is real. After a bank gets an Indian CEO, he will fill in the top and middle ranks of the bank with fellowmen from India. It shows in real life.

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