Key highlights from Labour Chief Ng Chee Meng’s May Day Rally speech

By May 1, 2022Current

TL;DR – At a time when rice bowls were threatened, under the leadership of NTUC Secretary-General, Ng Chee Meng, the Labour Movement has done so much for Singaporeans. The work continues.

Labour Chief, Ng Chee Meng, took over the role as NTUC’s Secretary-General in May 2018.

In his 4 years with NTUC, he has done some pretty amazing things with the Labour Movement. Mind you, it was at a time when Singapore faced its worst recession (lots of broken rice bowls ☹) since independence – the economy shrank 5.4 per cent in 2020 in its first annual contraction since 2001.

2 years as NTUC’s Secretary-General, Ng Chee Meng gets better & better at identifying what workers really need

His May Day Rally 2022 speech emphasised the developments that happened within the Labour Movement over the past few years, and the work that will continue.

Alleviating cost of living concerns – NTUC’s current initiatives, and what’s to come

The NTUC will continue to keep the prices of necessities affordable amid worries of higher costs of living, the Labour Chief promises.

On top of the various initiatives and savings rolled out by NTUC FairPrice and the other NTUC social enterprises, a new initiative will be launched across all Kopitiam outlets – which are owned by NTUC – by end 2022, to help keep the costs of cooked food and drinks affordable for union members.

NTUC members and NTUC Link members can get 10 per cent savings – in the form of cash discounts and Linkpoints – when they pay using the NTUC FairPrice app at Kopitiam food courts and coffee shops!

Ng Chee Meng on CTCs: Supporting workers in upskilling and training

“Singapore’s labour movement aims to support 1,000 companies over the next four years through a $70 million grant to raise productivity, redesign jobs and upskill workers,” shared Mr Ng.

 

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He also urged NTUC’s employer partners who have yet to set up the Company Training and Transformation Committees (CTCs) to embrace the CTC, and partner with NTUC and union leaders.

The aim of CTCs is to review training plans, identify skill gaps, plan for reskilling and career progression for their workers, and develop and implement new training programmes. All these will then drive win-win outcomes for workers, as well as employers!

“CTCs are really like a baby growing up, now somewhat in form, but needing much more nurturing to grow into full fruition.”

Ng Chee Meng on Tripartism, a uniquely Singaporean competitive advantage

“As we saw in Covid-19, this strength of tripartism afforded us the wherewithal to respond swiftly to take care of workers,” he said.

Mr Ng also gave the assurance that NTUC will stand shoulder to shoulder with the PAP leadership. As Secretary-General of NTUC, Ng Chee Meng pledges to give Mr Lawrence Wong “the fullest of support – for the success of the PAP government, and for our workers.”

 

Ng Chee Meng on supporting workers: Every worker matters

In his speech, the Labour Chief shared that NTUC will form a task force that focuses on young workers who are entering the workforce. The task force aims to gain a deeper insight into their work-life needs. There are plans for the task force to reach out to 10,000 young workers who are 25 years old and below.

Other than youths, Mr Ng also acknowledged the impact of the pandemic on other worker groups.

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For self-employed workers, the “unique needs and interests of this group of workers warrant special attention”. NTUC will continue pushing for better working terms and conditions, and boost medical coverage for self-employed workers.

For women workers, Mr Ng said that the union will continue to engage more companies to redesign job roles and adopt practices such as flexible work arrangements.

For lower-wage workers, NTUC wants to help their wage growth keep pace with the median wage growth. This will in turn help our lower-wage workers keep up with the cost of living here.

NTUC will also continue to push for the progressive wage model to be expanded to more sectors and occupations. The aim of introducing the Progressive Wage Model is to increase the salaries of workers through the enhancement of skills and improving productivity.

For older workers, Mr Ng also said that they will “spare no effort” in ensuring that older workers are able to re-skill and take on new jobs in the digital economy. As the world changes and industries transform, they will not be left behind.

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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