Mr S R Nathan

Remembering S R Nathan
Remembering S R Nathan

The Labour Movement dedicates this page to Mr S R Nathan – Our brother-in-arms, our workers’ keeper, our people’s leader.

Mr S R Nathan’s journey with the Labour Movement began, in his own words, during "turbulent times", and interestingly enough, even before when NTUC was born. Working first in Singapore as a Medical Social Worker in 1955 and then a year later, as a Seamen’s Welfare Officer fighting for the rights of workers, he dealt first hand with widespread labour unrest and witnessed “many injustices”, which shaped his beliefs and became “part of his cause”.

It is this same cause  fuelled by his heart and sympathies for workers – that eventually found him seconded to the newly set up Labour Research Unit. Starting literally from scratch, he “took in the role to fulfil it as best as I [he] could”, taking on everything from negotiating for workers and on behalf of unions to learning about human behaviour, patience and providing a listening ear to workers’ problems. It was under his leadership that NTUC matured into a responsible and credible trade union centre.

Over the years, even as Mr S R Nathan moved on to bigger and greater roles, his heart “has always been with the Labour Movement and all that it stands for ... As the saying goes, it is in the Labour Movement that we ‘small men and women’ earn our spurs and grow. It is in this movement that we learnt many of the realities of working life and overcame problems in our employment. All that remains so, even to this day.”

Today, it is for this reason that as a Labour Movement family, we gather to recount Mr S R Nathan’s journey with us, and in doing so, we celebrate his steadfast commitment to be “our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper” and his contributions to the working people of Singapore.

We will always honour the memory of Mr S R Nathan and live out his legacy as “a movement with a cause.”