Drizzt here. It looks like the shit is starting to hit the fan. Now i am really fearing for my day job since i’m close to this area.
SINGAPORE : In what is the first large-scale retrenchment here since the economy turned sour, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT) – a joint venture between chip giants Micron and Intel – has scrapped plans to build a wafer fabrication plant, laying off 800 employees in the process.
It became known on Thursday that the staff, 500 of whom are undergoing training in Utah, United States, were informed of the decision on October 13 in a meeting at the company’s Lehi facility. The remaining 300 – hired as production operators and who are mostly from India – have already left the company.
At press time, IMFT’s management, which is based in the US, could not be reached for comment. According to one affected Singaporean employee, the majority of the staff are non-Singaporeans. The employee told TODAY: “Prior to the meeting, everyone was already quite down. Because of the market conditions, some of us had suspicions (that there would be a massive layoff).”
Announced in 2005, the S$4.8-billion plant, which was intended to produce cutting-edge memory chips, was due to open in Woodlands later this year. It would have been one of the largest-ever investments in Singapores electronics industry.
But in May, its chief executive officer Rodney Morgan said the opening had been delayed until the middle of next year. While Mr Morgan reiterated the company’s commitment to the project, the writing was on the wall when Micron announced on October 10 that it was laying off 15 per cent – or 3,000 – of its staff worldwide.
It said that as a result, IMFT would discontinue the supply of NAND flash memory from Micron’s Boise facility in the US.
A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesperson said it was “closely monitoring the employment situation and will work closely” with its tripartite partners and other relevant government agencies to “render employment assistance to workers who may be retrenched”.
She added: “Companies that are considering retrenchment, or that have decided to do so, are strongly encouraged to give prior notification to MOM. Early notification will enable MOM and the relevant agencies to help companies on any potential labour relations issues as well as provide affected workers with employment assistance.” – TODAY/fa
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