700 workers ‘affected’ as Panasonic plans to stop operations in Singapore

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Seven hundred Panasonic employees in Singapore will be “affected” as the company announced the closure of its refrigeration compressor manufacturing operations in the country.

This is due to the “challenging global business outlook” as well as Panasonic’s “long-term business strategic review of the refrigeration compressor business portfolio”, said the Japanese firm in a news release yesterday.

The operations will cease by the end of next September. The 700 workers were informed yesterday morning.

Panasonic said it will consolidate the compressor manufacturing operations to existing facilities in Malaysia and China.

Casting operations will also be done at their Malaysian factory in Melaka.

The company’s research and development department, however, will continue to operate in Singapore, which remains as the headquarters of the firm’s refrigeration compressor business.

“There are a total number of 700 employees who will be affected by this review process,” said the company.

Panasonic Appliances Refrigeration Devices in Singapore. PHOTO: CNA

“We are working very closely with the relevant authorities, government agencies, and United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries (UWEEI) to ensure all affected employees are well-supported during this transition, including assisting with job placements.”

Panasonic stressed that Singapore remained a “regional and important hub”.

“The Panasonic group in Singapore will continue to have more than 1,400 employees across various business domains, including high-value manufacturing, R&D and our Asia Pacific headquarters,” it said.

“We will continue to invest in Singapore to support our growth strategies in the high-value supply chain and continue contributing to the communities in the Asia Pacific and beyond.”

UWEEI said it will continue working closely with Panasonic Appliances Refrigeration Devices Singapore (PAPRDSG) “to ensure that affected employees receive the necessary assistance and support so that they receive fair treatment”.

“The company is committed to paying employees the retrenchment benefits stipulated in the Collective Agreement, which is higher than industry norms,” said the trade union in a media statement yesterday.

The livelihoods of its workers impacted by the exercise remain its priority, it added.

“The close partnership between PAPRDSG, UWEEI and the Economic Development Board (EDB) has been instrumental to ensure that the retrenchment exercise will be carried out in a transparent, fair, and responsible manner.”

It added that it it has been working closely with NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and EDB to provide job placement assistance to affected employees.

“The union is also working with other unionised companies that may have vacancies in the same or adjacent sectors,” it said.

Affected employees have also been arranged to attend virtual or physical job fairs and employability workshops.