Workers at the Heart of Everything We Do – says NTUC Sec-Gen

  • Post published:23 July 2019

NTUC will continue to champion for better wages, better welfare and better work prospects for workers.

“On this May Day, let us always put workers at the heart of everything we do – take action, innovate, train. So that they can be more ready, relevant, resilient for the future economy.”

“And NTUC will always be that mountain behind you,” said NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng in his first NTUC May Day Rally speech.

Addressing some 1,600 attendees comprising union leaders and tripartite partners on 1 May at Downtown East, Brother Chee Meng underscored the relevance of tripartism and the collaboration between the unions, employers and the Government.

“We have pro-worker Government, supportive employers. So we must also ask ourselves in the Labour Movement: what must we do, on our part, to secure our own successes too?” he challenged the union leaders.

This being the year where the labour movement is commemorating 50 years of its Modernisation Seminar, it is a good time for reflection, the labour chief highlighted.

“Our forefathers, our founding fathers – Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Goh Keng Swee, Mr Devan Nair – had the foresight and the boldness to chart the new direction. Now in 2019, are we in the same transition to look again and find new ways to do things? The answer must be yes.”

He went on to urge union leaders to “nudge and convince our Sisters and Brothers on the ground” to work closely with companies to implement Company Training Committees through 3As – Acceptance of Technology, Adoption of Technology and Actualisation of Business Model.

“How is it possible that a union leader can convince better than our Government? Better than your Sec-Gen? Because you have the trust of the workers,” he pointed out.

“If our workers are able to change their mindset, then we can have a much higher rate of success and a faster way of grasping our country’s transformation”

Let us put every worker at the heart of everything we do. Let us take action to innovate, to transform, so that we can earn a better set of wages, welfare and work prospects for the future.

– NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng

Labour Movement is PAP’s Most Important Partner

The fourth-generation leadership transition will build on the fundamentals of the symbiotic relationship and work hand in hand with the Labour Movement to tackle challenges ahead.

In his maiden speech as Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat in his keynote address described the labour movement as the PAP’s “most important partner” and reaffirmed the commitment of the PAP Government to the labour movement.

“PAP treasures its relationship with the NTUC because the NTUC is pro-worker. It remains committed to the self-respect of every working man and woman, and believes that the purpose of economic development is to improve the lives of all in the workforce. We strive for growth, in order to improve the lives of every Singaporean. The Labour Movement can be assured that the PAP will never abandon the working man and woman,” he said.

In his keynote address, DPM Heng highlighted three strategies to transform for the future. First, be an active agent in the transformation of our economy; second, prepare our workforce for jobs of the future through lifelong learning; and third, pursue inclusive growth.

He went on to announce that with effect from 1 April 2020, unionised companies that apply for the Enterprise Development Grant will receive a total of 80% funding support if they form a company training committee and commit to increasing salaries of workers. This is an additional 10% grant for unionised companies.

Citing a report from the World Economic Forum in Davos, DPM Heng pointed out that advanced technologies could result in the loss of 75 million jobs worldwide by 2022, but the same technologies could also create up to 133 million new jobs, which is almost double what might be lost.

“It means that there are many new opportunities for all of us, and we must be prepared to seize them,” he said.

We can’t protect jobs that will be made redundant. Be we can and will protect workers – every working man and woman.

– DPM Heng Swee Keat