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Workers union 'disappointed' by Lazada layoffs, says it was not consulted

Workers union 'disappointed' by Lazada layoffs, says it was not consulted

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The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) have issued a statement expressing "disappointment" over regional eCommerce firm Lazada carrying out a retrenchment exercise without notifying the union.

This comes shortly after Lazada reportedly laid off an undisclosed number of its local employees as it streamlines its way of working to meet future business needs.

Don't miss: Lazada SG reportedly lays off staff

FDAWU, which is the union for Lazada Singapore, said that it has written to Lazada Singapore, stating that the move is unacceptable, and it has escalated the matter to the Manpower Ministry. NTUC continued by saying that it stands by FDAWU and affected workers.

“We, too, are extremely disappointed in this move by Lazada. NTUC would like to reiterate that it is critical for companies to work with their union to ensure that a fair and equitable process was carried out to safeguard the interests of all workers, especially our Singaporean core,” it said.

NTUC also appealed to employers in its statement to follow fair and responsible retrenchment practices if layoffs are unavoidable. 

“Companies must exhaust all other options before making the call to retrench employees. [We] also appeal to companies to be considerate about the timing of such exercises and to avoid doing such exercises during festive periods, as far as possible," it said.

It added that in the event of retrenchment, companies must ensure openness, transparency and consultation with unions and workers and observe the guiding principles outlined in NTUC’s Fair Retrenchment Framework and the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment.

According to The Straits Times (ST), it was not disclosed how many staff members from Lazada were affected and if they had received a severance package. 

However, Lazada told ST early this week that it was necessary to make "proactive adjustments" to transform its workforce and to better position itself for a more agile and streamlined way of working in order to meet future business needs.

It added in its statement to ST that the transformation necessitates that it reassesses its workforce requirements and operational structure to ensure that they can future-proof the business and people. 

This reportedly comes shortly after an initial round of layoffs in October 2023. Lazada also saw the departure of its CEO in Singapore, Wee-Lee Loh recently in August last year. Loh was with the company for just under five years. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Lazada multiple times with no response. 

Lazada has a presence in six countries across Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2016, Alibaba Group Holding acquired a stake in it to expand its presence in the region and Lazada became a subsidiary of the Chinese tech company. 

The news comes as Alibaba Group Holding’s international online shopping unit reportedly mulls a potential US initial public offering (IPO) to increase growth for the business. 

As of May last year, the firm was in the early stages of consideration. However, the IPO's size has yet to be determined, according to ST. 

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