Savills sorry for 'historical tender' language after call out by Security Association SG

Savills Property Management has apologised for the "unfortunate situation" created by a recent tender seeking a Chinese speaking guard within 21 to 60 years old. The company, which is the managing agent for Hillview Heights condominium, was called out by the Security Association Singapore (SAS) for "race and age discrimination". According to SAS, a tender  document released by Savills Property Management said that failure to provide a Chinese speaking guard will result in a warning letter and deduction of SG$100 per shift from the security povider.

A deduction of SG$100 will also be imposed on the first six shifts should a non-Chinese speaking guard be deployed for more than six shifts per month. The Facebook post added that dialect speaking guards are acceptable as well, and SAS alleged that the condominium had the intention for an ethnically Chinese officer to be deployed on a frequent basis at the condominium. SAS also pointed out another clause in the tender document which stated that the deployment of guards outside the age limit of 21 to 60 years old without the prior approval of the management will result in a SG$100 deduction per occurrence. As the tender did not elaborate on the conditions that the management will consider prior to giving or withholding approval, SAS said that the clause simply indicated that Savills does not want to deploy older workers at the condominium. Established in 1978, SAS is a trade association that represents the security and private investigation industry.

Savills' spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that this was" an unfortunate situation created by historical tender documentation language from 2000", and it has taken steps to ensure all tender documentation reflects current Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices. "Savills has been invited by the Singapore Police Force to introduce outcome-based contracts and will be reviewing the terms and conditions for its clients’ approval. It also welcomes a constructive dialogue between the Security Association Singapore and the Association of Strata Managers to ensure we are all aligned in the future," the spokesperson added. The Association of Strata Managers is a national association that protects the rights and safeguards the interests of Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) managing agents in Singapore.

Some of the properties under Savills' management include freehold residential site Flynn Park, located at Yew Siang Road, a freehold commercial shophouse at 221 Upper Thomson Road, and three shophouses located on 82, 83 and 84 Circular Road.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his recent National Day Rally speech that it will enshrine the TAFEP guidelines in law to give them more teeth and expand the range of actions it takes. The government also plans to create a tribunal to deal with workplace discrimination. PM Lee said previously that this will protect workers against discrimination based on nationality and other forms of discrimination as covered by TAFEP including language, gender, race and religion.

Separately, TAFEP launched investigations on video game developer Ubisoft last month for claims of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. The allegations against Ubisoft came to light in July this year when it was reported by video game news site Kotaku, which interviewed over 20 current and former employees. According to Kotaku, Ubisoft's Singapore operations experienced issues such as sexual harassment, bullying by managers and racial pay disparities.

The issue of racial discrimination is becoming talked about more often these days. In fact, the pandemic was also said to have shone the light on racial inequities and social tensions globally. A report done by PwC earlier this year showed that 50% of workers have faced discrimination at work, which led to them missing out on career advancement or training. Nearly, 22% were passed over because of their age - with younger workers just as likely as older people to be affected. Meanwhile, 13% of the 32,517 individuals surveyed said they missed out on opportunities as a result of ethnicity.

Power up your PR and communications efforts today with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's PR Asia Week on 1 and 2 December. Learn ways to build an evidence-based practice, up the ante on your strategies, and be head and shoulders above your competition. Click here to register today! 

Related articles:
Ubisoft reportedly investigated by TAFEP for sexual harassment and discrimination claims
Countering discrimination, MCCY puts local spin to classic 'I’ll stand by you' song for frontline workers
McDonald's tackles harassment and discrimination with new global brand standards
Amazon reportedly sued for racial discrimination practice