Just as the Modernization Seminar in 1969 was a seminal moment for the Labour Movement, 2019 marks another important milestone in its mission to look after the needs of all working people in Singapore, said NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.
Where tripartism, the collaboration between employers, the unions and Government was key in overcoming the challenges in 1969, it remains relevant to the Labour Movement’s efforts today in helping workers enjoy better wages, welfare and work prospects.
Speaking to reporters during the annual media briefing ahead of the May Day Rally on 1 May 2019, Mr Ng shared that the Labour Movement takes a long-term view in its support for workers, even as it works to address the immediate needs of its members.
Kopi and Teh Treats
In celebration of the Labour Movement Modernization Seminar’s 50th anniversary, NTUC members will get to enjoy their favourite hot coffee and tea drinks for just $0.50 throughout the month of May. This will be available at over 90 NTUC Foodfare and Kopitiam outlets islandwide.
From 1 June 2019 to 30 June 2020, NTUC members will still get to enjoy the same $0.50 coffee and tea offer every Wednesday.
As a gesture of appreciation for their contributions, NTUC Foodfare will extend the $0.50 hot coffee and tea offer to Pioneer and Merdeka generation seniors every Wednesday. The promotion will run from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2020.
More Affordable Meals
As the cost of living continues to be a key area of concern for workers, Mr Ng also announced that NTUC’s social enterprises will continue to do their part to help Singaporeans.
Building on the momentum set by NTUC FairPrice, which has locked in the prices of 100 essential housebrand items until 30 June 2020, NTUC Foodfare and Kopitiam will be further helping Singaporeans manage their cost of living with its cooked food offerings.
[Read More: NTUC FairPrice serves up two more cost-saving initiatives]
One example is the Breakfast Sets that comprise toast, tea/coffee and a pair of soft-boiled eggs that is priced at $1.80 for NTUC members and $2.20 for the public. The number of outlets offering these Breakfast Sets will increase from 25 to 52 by the end of 2019.
Additionally, NTUC Foodfare will be increasing the number of Rice Garden cooked food stalls from 44 to 55 by the end of 2019. Rice Garden is a social outreach programme that offers consumers affordably priced cooked food options. ComCare and NTUC Foodfare Privilege cardholders can enjoy mixed rice meals of one meat and two vegetable dishes at prices that start from $1.50. Prices of the same meal for the public start from $2.70.
Making Transformation Real
“The strategy to help our workers upskill is through our Company Training Committees (CTCs),” said Mr Ng. “This is the best way forward to ensure that workers can have better wages, better welfare and better work prospects.”
With a view to this future, the Labour Movement will be working to establish CTCs in 1,000 companies across all six Industry Transformation Map (ITM) clusters by 2022. The six clusters include manufacturing, built environment, trade and connectivity, essential domestic services, professional services and lifestyle. More than 330,000 workers are expected to benefit from this collaborative approach where training will be co-developed by unions, training providers and institutes of higher learning in support of business needs.
The Labour Movement’s role is in its network and ability to link workers and employers with training opportunities. At the same time, the Labour Movement will work with institutes of higher learning to develop relevant training programmes that will help workers pick up the relevant adaptive, technology and technical skills to cope with the demands of the workplace.
[Read More: BATU and CPGFM form the first CTC in the facilities management industry]
Elaborating, Mr Ng said: “The CTCs will converge company and worker interests and help the companies transform in tandem with worker training. We think that we can accelerate the acceptance of technology by workers… accelerate the adoption of technologies, and speed up training where company management and union can work together.
“The third most important thing is how to actualise the value capture of all these benefits. With these three As (acceptance of technology, adoption of technology, and actualising the benefits), we think we can create a win-win situation, and we can progress that much faster. The CTCs will not just serve workers, but companies can be served as well.”
Staying Representative And Relevant
Where wages are concerned, the Labour Movement is working closely with tripartite partners in further developing the Progressive Wage Model. Discussions on reviewing the retirement and re-employment age are also in the advanced stages with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).
Mr Ng also shared that the Labour Movement has been re-inventing itself to better represent the changing workforce demographic and needs.
Examples cited include the formation of the Supply Chain Employees’ Union (SCEU) to represent workers of all levels in the logistics industry, the repositioning of the Singapore Bank Officers’ Association to become the Banking and Financial Services Union (BFSU) to serve all workers in the industry and help them cope with the impact of disruption.
Elsewhere, the Labour Movement is widening its outreach to better look after the needs of workers in new sectors of the economy. This includes the affiliation of the Singapore FinTech Association, an NTUC U Associate partner, to NTUC; and the formation of affiliate associations such as the Tech Talent Assembly (infocomm professionals) and the National Instructors and Coaches Association (freelance coaches and instructors in the discipline of sports, wellness, music and the performing arts).