Automation and New Work Patterns: Cases from Singapore's Electronics Industry
In Singapore, the state has a policy of the extensive encouragement of automation as well as the continuous upgrading of the labour force through further education and retraining. This paper reports on a survey of workers, together with case studies of firms, in the electronics industry. It suggests that the implementation of automation may at times be in conflict with the training and educational upgrading policy, and may be accompanied by extensive labour turnover due to the demands of new working hours associated with automation. However, the high level of demand for labour within Singapore, and the ready availability of alternative sources of supply from outside, means that this is not a serious problem. In general, workers considered that their levels of skill had been enhanced as a result of automation, but also that the intensity of their effort had been increased.