NTUC pledges more support for workers to beat global downturn

May 3, 201610:39 am392 views
NTUC pledges more support for workers to beat global downturn
In a May Day speech, Mr Chan said NTUC would explore tie-ups to provide relevant modules for workers. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong

SINGAPORE — Union leaders must mobilise workers to embrace lifelong learning, urged labour chief Chan Chun Sing yesterday, as he pledged greater support for workers to build up their skills and encourage businesses to become more productive so there would continue to be good wages for Singaporeans.

With the economy facing headwinds, the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) focus will be on training so workers can pick up new skills to emerge stronger from this cyclical slowdown, he added.

Speaking at the May Day Rally held at Downtown East yesterday, Mr Chan said: “There is no point for the Government to put S$1 billion into the kitty if we are unable to mobilise each and every worker to what is right … to make sure that we are ready for tomorrow.”

He was referring to the Government’s announcement yesterday that it would match every S$1 that the National Trades Union Congress raises for the NTUC-Education and Training Fund with S$3, up to S$150 million. The money will be used to generate subsidies for courses that, for the first time, the labour movement will rope in Institutes of Higher Learning to provide.

Mr Chan noted that NTUC would be exploring more tie-ups with post-secondary institutions to provide relevant modules for workers.

He reiterated that despite the current “tough” economic climate, Singapore, unlike many other countries, has the resources to invest in schemes such as SkillsFuture and measures to transform the economy.

“I am confident that we will emerge from this (economic slowdown) pulling even further ahead from our nearest competitor … Each and every crisis is an opportunity for us to strengthen our tripartite model,” he added.

As the workforce evolves to become diverse, Mr Chan said the labour movement will need to reach staff beyond rank-and-file workers so that it does not serve only a certain segment of society.

He added: “The Labour Movement must be a reflection of the structure of the economy. As the structure of the economy evolves, we too must evolve.”

And while the NTUC continues on its course to grow membership numbers, it is important to strengthen its networks across different worker groups.

Part of this involves grooming younger union leaders, said Mr Chan.

NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How told reporters on the sidelines of the rally that having a strong pipeline of leaders across different generations would help ensure the labour movement continues to be representative of workers from different segments and industries.

“The workforce is changing … with time, people (also) age and move on,” he said. “We must ensure a good pipeline of leaders. This takes very careful, systematic, purposeful investing.”

news source: todayonline.com

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