security guard

Aside from asking for Mandarin-speaking guards below 60 years old, the tender for security services by Hillview Heights stated it would impose a $100 penalty per shift if “a Chinese-speaking guard” was not provided for over six shifts per month.

The Security Association Singapore has slammed a tender for security services by Hillview Heights condo’s managing agent, which asked for guards who are below 60 years old and could speak Mandarin, saying it was discriminatory against older workers and non-Mandarin speakers, reported TODAY.

The managing agent, Savills Property Management, also stated in the tender that a financial penalty of $100 per shift would be imposed on the security agency should it fail to provide “a Chinese-speaking guard” for over six shifts per month.

The tender document also stated, in brackets, that dialects are “acceptable”.

The agency may also be fined $100 every time a guard older than 60 years old and younger than 21 years old is deployed without the approval of the management.

The tender, which was dated 3 September, was posted on the e-marketplace site Realty Singapore.

The Security Association Singapore said it is highlighting the particular clauses within the tender since they seem to penalise security agencies unless they practice discrimination in the hiring and deployment of security officers.

The association said other clauses in the tender were also of concern, although it did not provide details on such clauses.

“As we all know, Mandarin and the dialects are not mutually translatable — so what exactly is the job requirement here that Savills is looking for? Furthermore, for a Singapore condominium, is it a reasonable requirement for a Chinese-speaking officer to be deployed at all times?” asked the association in its press statement and Facebook post.

“It appears that the intention is for an ethnically Chinese officer to be deployed on a frequent basis at the condominium. This would be race discrimination,” it added as quoted by TODAY.

The tender does not also provide how the condo management will decide on approving guards older than 60 or younger than 21.

“It appears there is just an intention for older workers not to be deployed at the site,” said the association.

It revealed plans to raise the issue with the Ministry of Manpower and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

“But we are also well aware that there may not be much they can do, because the fair employment guidelines apply only to employers,” it said,

“In this regard, managing agents like Savills and service buyers like Hillview Heights may be able to get away with forcing service providers like security agencies to carry out discriminatory practices.”

Given the “gap in the law”, the association revealed that it had called for the extension of the TAFEP guidelines to service buyers in the past.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has raised the issue of discriminatory hiring practices during his National Day Rally speech.

Lee noted that although it is “understandable and acceptable” that some jobs may require proficiency in the Chinese language, those who belong to the minority may find it unfair and unreasonable if employers insist on hiring Mandarin-speakers when language is not a requisite for the job.

Security Association Singapore Executive Director Ikhsan Suri said managing agents should advise their clients on how to legally, fairly and correctly outsource manpower services.

“Instead, we have seen that some managing agents encourage and empower buyers to be discriminatory. This is especially disappointing, given that many outsourced service workers are in low-wage professions and should not see any opportunities slip by them due to workplace discrimination,” he explained.

“Security Association Singapore will continue to keep a look-out for unfair clauses in tenders and contracts, and highlight them as needed,” added Ikhsan.

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Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: cheryl@propertyguru.com.sg

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