Insurance agents fail in bid to bring dispute to arbitration court

Insurance agents fail in bid to bring dispute to arbitration court

Three insurance agents failed to bring a dispute with NTUC Income to the Industrial Arbitration Court (IAC) after the High Court dismissed their lawsuit on Tuesday.

The suit - filed against the Singapore Insurance Employees' Union (SIEU) by Mr Phillip Lim, Mr Ng Kee Wah and Mr Tan Huan - alleged the union had taken the side of Income, after the insurance giant "strong-armed" the trio to sign a new contract last year.

The contract changed their status from Income employees to independent agents, resulting in the loss of perks such as paid sick leave and retrenchment benefits.

They commenced legal proceedings in March, asking the High Court to declare that the union had not represented their interests adequately.

Wanting to avoid the high cost of a civil suit against Income, they also asked the court to direct SIEU to refer the dispute to the IAC.

The case was dismissed by Justice Choo Han Teck, though he said the judgment should not prejudice any future legal action against Income or SIEU. He also ordered them to pay costs.

The dispute began when Income informed 660 workers last year that it had inadvertently under-declared their incomes for two decades. The three plaintiffs, who have worked an average of 17 years for Income, were among those affected.

They alleged in court documents that the firm had thrust the contracts upon them to clear up accounting errors.

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