NTUC and Punggol Shore have embarked on an initiative to show appreciation to cleaners, retail, and F&B workers for their efforts in providing service and support to the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Together, NTUC and Punggol Shore distributed 2,300 care packs to workers over two days.
The first hundred care packs were delivered on 29 August 2021 to Punggol Shore’s Town Council community cleaners. The remaining care packs were delivered to retail and F&B workers on 5 September 2021.
On the second day of distribution, staff from NTUC U SME, NTUC U Women and Family, and representatives from Punggol Shore visited retail and F&B workers in shops at Oasis Terrace, Punggol Place, and Tebing Lane.
NTUC Director Yeo Wan Ling, who was heading the initiative, said: “Our essential workers have been putting in additional hours during the pandemic with cleaners ensuring our public spaces are clean and sanitised, and shop workers having to continue operating at the risk of exposure to infection.
“While the Labour Movement continues its work to extend protection and uplift of our essential workers’ livelihoods, we want to deliver some personal warmth and support to them whenever we can for there is no such thing as too much care and recognition for these community heroes.”
The care packs were put together by NTUC U SME, NTUC U WAF, and youth volunteers from Punggol Shore. Each care pack included snacks and chrysanthemum tea packets.
The activity was part of NTUC’s 60th-anniversary commemoration, which saw NTUC units bringing care to the community of their choice.
Julie Gan, 65, is a stall supervisor at the Koufu branch in Singapore Management University.
She said: “The whole world has been suffering in the past two years since the pandemic started. So I always encourage my staff and tell them to stay together and do our part to fight this pandemic.
“I’ve been with Koufu for 15 years. I am very passionate about my job, and I love people. I believe my service to Singaporeans is very important. We are in an essential line, so it takes passion and a want to serve.”
Ms Yeo also took the opportunity to touch on the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the retail and food services sectors at the sidelines of the second care pack distribution activity.
Speaking to the media, Ms Yeo said: “I’m heartened to hear from the ground that employers are supportive of the PWM because it helps to uplift the lives of our lower-wage Singaporeans.
“Also, as a lot of young retailers and innovations are up and coming in the retail and F&B sectors, I believe they [the sectors] can be colourful and progressive. And I hope, with the PWM, we’ll be able to attract more Singaporeans to join this industry, take a very long career point of view and be involved in these two progressive sectors.”
Ms Yeo added that NTUC has been working with employers to look at uplifting not only the wages of workers but also their skillsets and productivity using innovative technology.
NTUC first mooted for the PWM in the retail and food services sectors in 2018.
The PWM for the retail and food services sectors will be rolled out on 1 September 2021 and 1 March 2023, respectively.
The retail PWM is expected to benefit 27,900 workers, while the food services PWM is expected to benefit 33,000 workers.