18.35 Activism - Young Union Leaders
A Servant Leader Among Unsung Heroes

They are the frontline responders when emergencies arise, they are omnipresent yet maintain a low profile in the premises they protect. They are security officers, Singapore’s unsung heroes who help keep our homes safe.

The Hidden World Of Security
The vital role of a security officer is often downplayed and said to be meant for the retired and lower-educated. In fact, security officers fill manpower gaps, complementing the role of police officers. They have to go through screening and training before being issued a license.

Raymond Chin Ming Jie, whose Chinese name usually reminds others amiably of the Qingming Festival, defied these misperceptions of the security industry by being one of few young adults working there. The ex-Singapore Armed Force personnel became an Operations Executive in Reachfield Security & Safety Management Pte Ltd where 100 security officers in his charge help protect buildings and ad hoc events.

Enthused To Engage
Raymond took to union work like a fish to water. Within one year of the unionisation of his company in 2011, the 32-year-old was elected as an EXCO member and youth rep of the Union of Security Employees (USE). As a member of Young NTUC, he enjoyed exchanging experiences and plans to effect change with leaders from other youth chapters.

Leading Through Service
An exceptional individual who never hesitates in grooming potential leaders, Raymond employs the concept of Servant Leadership. Through service, the interests and happiness of members are placed first. “By helping people, I hope to inspire more members to become leaders,” he added.

One of the challenges faced in the industry is long working hours. Customers tend to request for a 24/7 service. With a tight labour market, security officers have to pull 12-hour shifts for a 6-day work week. He hopes to change this to a 5-day work week so that a better work-life balance can be achieved.

The Might Of Numbers
Raymond strongly believes in the importance of union membership. He recounted helping a member apply for a hardship grant once because of an injury sustained outside work. The cash grant of $1000 helped the member tide over a pay cut as a portion of his pay is taken up by overtime.

As USE works with partners to promote better conditions for members, he stresses the benefit of strength in membership. By knowing all benefits, NTUC members can utilise their membership in 4 key areas i.e. Protection, Progression, Placement and Privileges (4Ps).

Protection lobbies for and raises the awareness of workplace rights. The higher the membership numbers, the stronger the bargaining power. Progression increases the long term employability of members through training. Placement is industrial development to create employability opportunities for members. Privileges are member benefits provided in areas like lifestyle.

“Having a union membership without knowing the 4Ps is like a having a rough diamond, it shines only when polished. I urge members to help others and get involved in the union. There is strength in unity and that should be the way forward.”