TL;DR – Doing more HUM (harm) than good this time.
Member of Parliament (MP) Jamus Lim from the Workers’ Party (WP) has warmed many cockles of many people’s hearts during his political debate during the 2020 General Election.
However, his recent remarks in the Parliament has sparked anger amongst many union leaders.
In case you are not able to watch the video above, here’s what WP MP Jamus Lim said in his Debate Speech in Parliament on October 15,
“… the SMS (Senior Minister of State) mentioned a few times that a lot of this affects real lives. And I have no doubt that it affects real lives because that is precisely what we are fighting for.
But with all due respect, as much as it will be lovely to always rely on folksy wisdom and beliefs by labour union leaders, at the same time it is important to realise that when we talk about studies that show that the minimum wage does not lead to any appreciable increase in unemployment, this is based on careful consideration and not just beliefs.”
His remarks, which came after growing discussion on the minimum wage amidst debate on Government’s strategy to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic, described the wisdom and beliefs of union leaders as “folksy”.
The WP MP also implied that union leaders have not been careful in their consideration of minimum wage.
Understandably, unions and union leaders alike were upset at his choice of words.
They, therefore, took to social media to voice their irritation and disappointment at the WP MP.
Jamus Lim knows nothing about workers and their worker representatives
Don’t undermine the tripartite efforts
Do not discredit the years of hard work of those who are closer to the ground than you are
More than 50 years of hard work has been severely downplayed by Jamus Lim
Please do not insult the union leaders
Union leaders work with ground knowledge and REAL issues
Folksy trade unionist, but damn proud of it
Union leaders will continue to safeguard the interests of workers
Perhaps Jamus Lim should be doing his own research about the unions
F(olksy) you back for not having your grasp on reality
Unions have also responded to the comments made by the WP MP in his debate speech.
Young NTUC, the youth wing of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has penned a response as well:
If you’ve been following us for a while, then you’d know that we’ve done quite some articles, featuring union leaders and the work they do.
Nope, they ain’t just people with “folksy wisdom and beliefs”. They are real people on the ground, who has been fighting for workers’ welfare for decades.
Tales from the union: oil tank fires, leukemia and liquidation
While we also understand that Jamus Lim’s disconnection and his lack of knowledge in this arena is reasonable – because after all, he has spent most of his time outside of Singapore previously – however, we feel that Jamus Lim should not, for a second, dismiss or deny the hard work and efforts of the union leaders, or anyone for that matter.
And as an MP who represents the party which proclaims its allegiance to the working class in its manifesto, perhaps Jamus Lim should have done some homework to understand the work that unions and union leaders in Singapore do before making such remarks so lightly.
For a start, we would like to recommend that he start with the articles that we’ve written! *winks 😊