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Tower Transit withdraws job offers from bus captains

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A “lapse” in human resources processes has caused Tower Transit to “inadvertently” made more offers of bus captain positions than it needed.

According to a Tower Transit  spokesman, as part of the firm’s recruitment activities between December 2016 and January this year, the bus operator inadvertently made more offers of bus captain positions than it had available.

“Regrettably, we’re not able to follow through on offers made to six gentlemen at this time,” the spokesman said.

Responding to queries by Human Resources, the Tower Transit spokesman said: “It’s a situation that has caused them distress, and we’re doing everything we can, including direct referrals to other organisations, to help them find similar positions.”

He added: “We have now secured interviews for the three people who have accepted our offer of assistance, and have compensated all six of them.”

The spokesman also revealed that the bus operator have since plugged gaps in its hiring process.

“That’s paramount, but what’s also important is that we have the fortitude to recognise we messed up here.

“For us to inspire confidence again and for our people to be reassured, they must know that central to our culture is this fortitude to ‘fess up’ and do better when mistakes happen,” he added.

ALSO READ: SMRT, Tower Transit, and SBS Transit on the PCP and the industry’s talent challenges

Responding to Human Resources’ queries about the situation, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that in this instance, Tower Transit has acknowledged that there were lapses in their HR process.

“The company has informed MOM that it is extending assistance to all affected individuals and will compensate them for this early termination, ” a MOM spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that affected individuals who have any queries may approach MOM or the unions, if they are union members, for advice and assistance.

According to the ministry, an employment contract is a commitment from both parties (i.e. the employer and the potential employee) to start a new employment relationship. The employer would have invested resources to recruit the potential employee, and the employee might have resigned from his previous job after being offered the employment.

“It is therefore reasonable to expect both parties to honour the commitment, unless there are extenuating circumstances requiring the need to prematurely terminate the contract before the individual starts work,” the MOM spokesperson added.

READ MORE: MOM takes a jab at Surbana Jurong’s multiple-employee termination

Melvin Yong, executive secretary of the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) was of the opinion that both employers and employees should commit to the terms and conditions of the employment contract once it is signed,  The Straits Times reported.

Yong, who is also a Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC said: “If either party has to revoke the contract, due notification, explanation and compensation should be given.”

He added that the NTWU can help affected employees by linking them up with the Employment and Employability Institute for job placement assistance.

However, The Straits Times understands that Tower Transit’s willingness to try and find alternative jobs for the affected parties does not “detract from or waive its breach” of the employment agreement if it did not comply with the provisions surrounding its termination.

Vernon Voon, the employment and labour relations partner at law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing noted: “In the event that an alternative job is offered, that will only go towards mitigation of the damages that the affected parties have suffered as a result of the company’s breach in not observing the terms of the agreement regarding its termination.”

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