18.35 Activism - Young Union Leaders
Once A Youth Leader, Always A Youth Leader


Building A Foundation
In 2013, Mohammad Hasrul Passarebu Bin Daud began his journey as a union leader and a youth chairman in CIEU, focusing his time on flying the CIEU flag as high as he could. He also served as a youth representative in Young NTUC.

There, he met Seah Keng Tia, Chairperson of Young NTUC and Branch Chairperson in UWPI. They became fast friends. Seah left a deep impression on Hasrul sharing union stories, inspiring with insights and giving useful advice to fellow Young NTUC members like Hasrul. Through his stories, Hasrul was motivated to fight on for his co-workers in his then branch—Perstorp Pte Ltd.

Despite the efforts put in by the union, economic conditions could not be predicted and Perstorp had to file for voluntary liquidation at MOM. Worried over whether retrenchment benefits will be given, Hasrul could not sleep for two consecutive days.

The liquidators then announced that Perstorp will fulfil the November salaries due to its employees. Tears of relief welled up in Hasrul’s eyes as he and his committee received an outburst of gratitude from members thanking the union for its hard work. Today, although Perstorp’s employees including Hasrul are no longer in the company, their claims for retrenchment benefits are still in progress and CIEU is still helping them with the claims.

A New Beginning
That’s not the end of Hasrul’s union story. The next company he joined, Jurong Aromatics Corporation (JAC) had coincidentally been unionised under UWPI. Seah encouraged Hasrul to share his experience in industrial relations with his branch. When asked how did he help, Seah said: “I barely did much, I think it’s Hasrul’s passion to serve that allowed him to be recognised by his colleagues. I can sense that he still has a heart for the Labour movement. (Also) there was a vacant position in the branch.”

With Seah’s support, Hasrul agreed. He eventually became Chairperson of JAC branch and continued to be a member of Young NTUC as a representative of UWPI. He enthused: “I look forward to assisting Seah in organising events, increasing membership and advocating the initiatives of the Labour movement in UWPI. I am thankful to be part of the union. My experience as a union leader has helped me grow. CIEU is where I start my journey and UWPI is where I will develop to be a better union leader. For that I give my gratitude to both unions.”

Retaining Talent
A seamless transfer of membership or in this case—leadership—has made it possible for activists to continue developing their interests on this platform. Young leaders like Hasrul with valuable experience have successfully been retained in the Labour movement and Seah is jubilant about it.

He shared: “There’s a saying passed down by our seniors: ‘For whatever reasons that you may be taken out of Young NTUC, no one can ever take the Young NTUC out of you.’ I hope that every activist like Hasrul can enjoy the union journey to be a better person and spread the passion of lending a helping hand to others. By doing so, we are already preserving a strong labour movement and growing a stronger nation.”