This year, 117 outstanding individuals and organisations were conferred May Day Awards for their contribution to build a better Labour Movement and a better life for the workers.
Hosted by NTUC President Mary Liew and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, the May Day Awards presentation was attended by more than 1,000 guests comprising award recipients, union leaders and tripartite partners.
The highest award, the Medal of Honour, was conferred on Coodinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan.
Among the distinguished award recipients were Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), SMOU Executive Committee Member Brother T Onn B T A Murad, SMOU Advisor Brother Gan Thiam Poh and U-Ming Transport (Singapore) Pte Ltd.
“Today it is an important occasion for us to commemorate the fruits of your labour. Keep up the effort and continue to be a model for us all,” said Sister Mary.
Medal of Honour Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan
It was cheers all round when Brother Khaw Boon Wan received the award from Brother Chee Meng and Sister Mary. He was applauded for his belief in prioritising workers, and his continuous efforts in advancing tripartism have left an indelible mark on the lives of the workers.
The state of the healthcare sector and hospitals today is a reflection of Brother Khaw’s impact in his previous role as the Minister of Health. He worked closely with the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union to enhance workers’ welfare. At one point, he also urged senior management from public healthcare clusters at a dialogue session to learn best practices from on another to advance the healthcare sector.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Labour Movement have long worked together to further workers’ interests and foster harmonious labour relations. When Brother Khaw was PAP’s Chairmanfrom 2011 to 2018, he affirmed and nurtured the longstanding symbiotic relationship between PAP and NTUC.
He continues to advance tripartism in his current appointment as Minister for Transport. Before he launched the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map in 2018, Brother Khaw deepened tripartite partnership between the Government, unions, and industries to identify manpower gaps and develop targeted transition measures for public transport workers who are at risk of technological disruptions. He also set up centralised academies such as the Singapore Bus Academy and Singapore Rail Academy to prepare public transport workers for the future.
When Brother Khaw took over the transport portfolio in 2015, he advocated workers’ welfare by making sure that workers were suitably trained and given adequate time to complete their work. He also officiated the inaugural Public Transport Workers’ Appreciation Day in 2017 and presented the inaugural MOT Challenge Shield awards to encourage public transport workers to excel in the industry. Despite his busy schedule, he makes it a point to schedule regular visits to public transport workers at depots, interchanges, and even underground tunnels to understand their daily work and challenges, and celebrate key milestones.
As Transport Minister, Brother Khaw has always been supportive of the maritime community, working alongside tripartite partners to enhance workers’ welfare. His strategy for the transport industry to be future-ready is to raise the competency level of workers which will involve a multi-year strategy of consistent investments in capabilities and skills development. He says that newer and better paying jobs will be created along the way, and the transformation ahead will require support from tripartite partners, having a ‘One Team’ spirit.
Veteran of Labour Award
Brother T Onn B T A Murad
Executive Committee Member, SMOU
Brother T Onn B T A Murad was nominated by SMOU to receive the Veteran of Labour Award which is conferred on retired trade unionists who have made significant contributions to the Labour Movement continuously for 15 years of more.
His citation read:
“Having been a union member for 41 years and served in the SMOU Executive Committee for 29 years as a union leader, T Onn had engaged with and spoken up for members. In addition to negotiating Collective Agreement terms for members, he was a strong proponent of training, often raising funds for the Singapore Maritime Training Fund for members’ training in preparation for the future. He also shared his knowledge and experience with the young and encouraged them to take up the seafaring career, as he wanted Singaporeans to have these good jobs. He embodied the spirit of Caring and Sharing, regularly engaging senior members and residents from SMOU’s adopted senior citizen’s home, the Henderson Home. He is a role model to our younger union leaders and his resilience and strong sense of fairness for our workers have earned him the respect of fellow union leaders.”
Plaque of Commendation (Gold)
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
MPA received the plaque of commendation (Gold) conferred on organisations which, after having received the Plaque of Commendation Award, consistently made significant contributions towards promoting and supporting the Labour Movement initiatives.
MPA has enjoyed excellent labour-management relations with the Amalgamated Union of Statutory Board Employees (AUSBE) in driving positive outcomes in wages, welfare and work prospects for their workers. One of the initiatives that MPA had done was to implement the Progressive Wage Model for vessel traffic officers to ensure a steady progression to managerial roles. They had also extended the scope of union representation to represent more professionals, managers and executives.
MPA also extended the scope of representation for executives and engineers by sponsoring several engineers to the Young Engineers Leadership Programme conducted by NTUC and the Institution of Engineers Singapore.
Working closely with AUSBE to improve employees’ welfare, MPA also put in place a pro-family leave system and flexible work arrangements. Employee’s work prospects are also being taken care of through training funds to enable skills upgrading and professional development.
Plaque of Commendation
U-Ming Transport (Singapore) Pte Ltd
SMOU nominated U-Ming Transport (Singapore) Pte Ltd to receive the Plaque of Commendation which was conferred on organisations that have promoted and supported Labour Movement and its initiatives.
“The first Collective Agreement between U-Ming and the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union was concluded back in 2001. Over the past 18 years, the union-management relationship has strengthened significantly, and the union has successfully negotiated for better wages for seafarers which have been above the benchmark wages of the International Transport Workers’ Federation standards. They were also higher than the minimum wage provided for seafarers under the International Labour Organisation.
U-Ming has introduced a proper Remuneration and Welfare Committee to look into various welfare benefits for physical and mental health nourishment of its employees. Part of the benefits include the scholarship programmes for employees and their children.”