SMOU GS Mary Liew re-elected as NTUC President

  • Post published:20 December 2019

PAP reaffirms committment to NTUC

“This year’s conference is special because it marks the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Modernisation Seminar, which was a pivotal moment for both the NTUC and People’s Action Party.
Today, the PAP Government renews our commitment to you. We will always stand with workers and ensure your well-being. We will always do our best to help you and your children progress with Singapore, and have a better life. We will ensure that no Singaporean, regardless of family background or life circumstances, will ever be shut out from opportunities, or left behind. ”

– Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave his assurance at the NDC 2019.

Setting a new foundation for success

While many unions around the world are experiencing a decline in union membership and losing their relevance, Singapore is still doing well.

Looking ahead, as the economy is entering a new phase, technology is transforming many industries, and emerging businesses are disrupting established players. Workers have to be ready for change.

In many countries when workers lose their jobs and lose their relevance, many of them feel left behind by progress and they feel their own lives do not seem to be improved. Ever since the Modernisation Seminar, NTUC has been progressive, forward looking and relevant to the changing needs of workers.

“We have about 950,000 members, about 30 per cent of the workforce. Against global trends, we have grown. But we are also seen from the charts that the growth has tapered,” said NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.

At the NDC, the labour movement set a new target of 1.5 million members “with an aspirational timeline of 2025 but would be happy to achieve it by 2030”.

To achieve this, Brother Chee Meng highlighted three areas that need innovation: union model, membership model and training model; with digitalisation underlining all these.

Innovating Union Business Model

“We need to innovate and expand our thinking, explore new possibilities, embrace new experiments and try out new ways of doing things on the ground,” he said.

One idea mooted was to set up a job security taskforce to look into protecting workers at the pre-retrenchment stage. The taskforce will propose solutions to reduce the window between retrenchment and job placements.

Innovating Membership Model

The possibility of a family membership model – providing a suite of holistic products and services tailored to meet the different lifestyles and evolving life cycles needs of the workers will be explored.

In the pipeline, a plot of land will be set aside for NTUC to build a ‘Downtown South’ resort on Pulau Brani, as was announced by PM Lee during his National Day Rally speech. It was a strong signal of appreciation from the government to all workers that ‘every worker matters’.

Brother Chee Meng also spoke about “meeting the needs of members and importantly, consolidating, strategising and leveraging our social enterprises’ strengths; clustered to bring new value to our members”. An example would be a one-stop hub that has been piloted in Kampung Admiralty, which includes childcare, eldercare, hawker centre and supermarket facilities run by NTUC’s social enterprises.

Innovating Training Model

NTUC will continue to accelerate the formation of Company Training Committees (CTCs) with a view of forming 1,000 CTCs reaching 330,000 workers by 2022.


In order to innovate and translate the above into tangible outcomes, NTUC will tap on digitalisation, harnessing the power of digital technology such as big data, artificial intelligence and more to meet workers’ training needs.

“In 2019, in this NDC, may it be at this seminar that we will set a new foundation for the Labour Movements’ success forward. Let us dare, let us do,” Brother Chee Meng said.

Stay united and press forward, says NYUC President

“It is important for NTUC and workers to stay united and press forward with transformation as a team.

The labour movement must continue to offer members protection to safeguard them against possible exploitation by errant employers or displacement due to macroeconomic factors, along with privileges, training and employability help.

The labour movement must also transform and adapt as the workforce profile changes to include more professionals, managers and executives as well as older workers.

NTUC members also have changing needs – such as looking after elderly parents and children, or looking at their career after reaching a certain level of seniority.

With union leaders on the ground who understand workers’ concerns and aspirations, the NTUC, Government and employers can help workers, companies and Singapore succeed.

This strong tripartite relationship that is based on trust must continue to be our unique hallmark.”

NTUC President Mary Liew


“The NTUC’s new initiative on building “Kampung Admiralty” retirement village encourages the inter-generational bonding, social interaction and active ageing. This is a great initiative for ageing population in Singapore. ”

– SMOU Assistant Secretary Joyce Lee

“There are numerous workgroups, committees and alliances formed to strengthen the spirit of tripartism in Singapore. NTUC has done a great job for our workers and one of the most important takeaway in the NTUC Secretary General’s report is to keep innovating in NTUC’s role with the government, so that we can continue to bring value to our workers.”

– SMOU Assistant General Secretary Gwee Guo Duan

At the NDC Workshop, about 400 union leaders gathered to discuss issues surrounding the 4Ps – Protection, Placement, Progression and Privileges.

From the workshop discussions, SMOU leaders gathered that it is imperative for union leaders to be a valuable partner in the tripartite system, to mobilise the transformation of workers through Company Training Committees to keep up with the digital transformation and to upskill and reskill workers, and lastly, to be member-centric by understanding the needs of members in the family across the life stages.