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The news of Panasonic closing its factory in Singapore goes to show the importance of staying open and competitive.

NTUC and the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries (UWEEI) union will support the affected workers and help them find new jobs. After the announcement on Thursday, several union leaders and industrial relations officers were at the Panasonic plants to speak with the affected workers.

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NMP Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, Vice President of NTUC Central Committee, who is also general secretary of the Union of Power and Gas Employees was visibly upset when he rose to speak in response to Leong Mun Wai's uncalled for attack.

Sometimes the loudest voice is the voice that kills the Singaporean worker. PSP Leong Mun Wai needs to get off his moral high horse and apologise to labour MPs and union leaders for his uncalled for attack on them in Parliament.

Union leaders work unceasingly for workers' wages, welfare and work prospects. The Progressive Wage Model is testimony of their hard work as EQUAL partner with their tripartite partners to negotiate better wages and career prospects for workers. NTUC's Job Security Council helps displaced and at-risk workers transit to new jobs, NTUC's e2i track where the job vacancies are and help match workers to these jobs with skills evaluation, training, counselling, career coaching. Labour MPs' push saw the Fair Consideration Framework, amendment to Employment Act and many more.

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“I get a lot of satisfaction from keeping the workspace spick and span. It’s like giving the others a conducive environment to work in, it makes my work purposeful,” Aunty Chan tells me. “No matter what your role in life is, everyone can excel in what they do as long as they put their heart into it.”

To many workers like Mdm Chan, the PWM, together with Workfare Income Supplement have helped to uplift their lives. However, there’s more that we can do for them as we progress together as a country. Perhaps all of us - Government, employers, unions, and Singaporeans alike – have a role to play in the way we support them.

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With women making up half of the Singapore population, they are vital to the Singapore economy that is already facing a manpower crunch from lower birth rates. The data shows that the combined efforts of employers, the Government, unions and society at large are still needed to further push for inclusiveness at the workplace. Mothers are often lauded in society for their sacrifices and we ought to accord them the respect they deserve by doing what we can do to empower them in their careers.

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yeo wan ling with women workers

Labour MP Yeo Wan Ling’s role in the NTUC allows her to work on protecting women's livelihoods as well as supporting their careers.

As women in Singapore continue to face challenges at home, at work and in the community, they need a helping hand when it comes to exploring new career options, seeking support, forming alliances and more. Now, the PAP has been a champion for women since the beginning. Over the decades, the Government has consistently pursued policies that have enabled women to make strong progress.

The Unions have also been supporting and representing women in the workplace over the decades. In 1973, the NTUC set up a Women’s Committee. Through the Unions and the work of women unionists, the statuses of women in the workforce were uplifted and women’s participation in the Labour Movement increased.

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Did you know that the tripartite partners have been relentless in their push to ensure Singaporean workers are not facing discrimination?

The NTUC-PME Taskforce has engaged more than 9,000 PMEs in the last 6 months. Labour MP Patrick Tay suggested that fair hiring practices can be enhanced by improving companies' human resources standards while strengthening enforcement. Stiffer penalties on errant companies with discriminatory hiring practices should be imposed. These sentiments were similarly shared by NTUC Deputy Secretary General Chee Hong Tat at a recent event by the Human Capital Singapore.

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twelve cupcakes

The Food Services industry employs a large number of low-wage workers. There is a need to hold companies accountable for workers’ wages and welfare, and this includes paying their salaries on time, and in full.

In February, Twelve Cupcakes employees voted in favour of the Union to represent them. The successful unionisation of Twelve Cupcakes, was announced by the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) in a Facebook post. Good move. The Union is working closely with the management to improve the workers’ well-being, uplift wages and upskill the workers in preparation for the economy’s recovery.

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Yong Wei made the switch from a desk-bound job to be a food deliverer. “To me it’s like a business, making people happy is my business. And I get to apply business knowledge – like customer retention and good service.”

He is also the pro tem President of the newly formed National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA). The NDCA represents all freelancers whose main income comes from delivery and will cover some 2,000 riders. Supported by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), both groups will work closely with stakeholders to address issues faced by freelancers, enhance support frameworks and uplift work prospects. 

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Ng Chee Meng, NTUC Secretary General

The Tripartite Cluster for Lift & Escalator (TCLE) has conducted a review of the Lift & Escalator (L&E) PWM.

Recommendations include a six-year schedule of wage increase to the L&E PWM baseline wages from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2029. This builds on the existing PWM Transitional Wage Benchmark agreed upon in 2018 which maps a schedule of transitional wage benchmarks from 2020 to 2022, A mandatory PWM Bonus is part of the recommendations.

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