DFS Group to assist affected staff after TAFEP probe

Days after the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) probed DFS Group over its retrenchment exercise, the company has clarified that it has increased its engagement and dialogue with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), TAFEP, and the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation (Taskforce) to leverage on expertise and counsel.

A DFS spokesperson told Marketing that it has in place a series of measures to assist affected staff and will work closely with Taskforce, Workforce Singapore (WSG) and external outplacement agencies to provide support to those impacted by the retrenchment exercise. The support includes outplacement assistance with personalised one-on-one career coaching, job-matching, careers and job fairs, re-training and re-skilling, and employability skills workshops, and counselling service. According to the spokesperson:

We made best efforts to communicate these face-to-face with affected staff.

The workforce reduction exercise occurred last week and was done in response to a challenging travel retail environment. The DFS Group ended its 40-year liquor and tobacco partnership with Changi Airport Group (CAG) in August, citing the changing regulations concerning sale of liquor and tobacco against a global context of geopolitical uncertainty.

Ed Brennan, DFS Group chairman and chief executive officer said to Marketing then it was not a financially viable option for DFS to keep its operations in Changi Airport. Staff working in the liquor and tobacco concession operations at CAG were given formal notice of their termination of employment which will take effect in June 2020 when DFS officially exits the concession.

In addition, employees at the T Galleria in Scottswalk and at DFS’ shared services centre in Chai Chee were also affected. DFS has operated in Singapore since 1980. According to DFS, Singapore is its regional hub for retail innovation and technology, and continues to employ almost 1,000 staff in Singapore.

“We are committed to being a business that thinks long-term. We will continuously evolve over the years to implement new processes and ways of working so that we remain agile and efficient in a rapidly changing business and retail environment,” the spokesperson said.

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