PM Lee said there is no need for Singapore to be defensive of its model of trade unionism and tripartism which has helped us weathered many crises.
In the 1950s, trade unions made common cause with the PAP to press the colonial government for better conditions for workers, and to fight for self-determination and independence.
In 1961, when the communists broke away from the PAP to form the Barisan Sosialis, the trade union movement also split. The NTUC was established, and stood with the PAP against the pro- communist groups.
Fighting the communists together during the early tumultous years helped forge deep bonds of trust and comradeship between PAP and NTUC leaders. "These bonds endured through the wrenching events of 1965, and saw us through our journey from separation to nationhood," PM Lee said.