It has been a busy year for the Labour Movement, with many months, days and hours put in to help our workers achieve better wages, welfare and work prospects.
Most of the efforts were geared towards helping our professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), youth, women, freelancers and self-employed workers, low-wage workers, rank-and-file workers, as well as migrant workers.
We count the 12 most significant NTUC initiatives that benefited our workers in 2022.
1. #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations
NTUC launched the #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations on 11 August 2022 to renew its compact with workers across all life stages and understand their concerns, priorities and aspirations.
This year-long public exercise seeks to engage 20,000 individuals of different ages, collars, and sectors through platforms such as dialogues, focus group discussions and surveys.
NTUC will engage the public in the first two phases to hear their concerns and views and organise policy workshops with stakeholders to develop its recommendations.
NTUC will then share its findings and recommendations in the third phase by mid-2023.
2. Singapore Labour Journal
NTUC launched on 21 October 2022 the Singapore Labour Journal.
It is Southeast Asia’s first labour journal which incorporates peer-reviewed academic papers, practitioners’ insights on current labour issues, and new approaches for unions in Singapore and the world.
Topics include continuing education and training; mobilising and organising workers via digital means; supporting younger workers’ aspirations and needs; helping PMEs overcome disruptions; retirement and post-retirement employment; and the changing roles of NTUC in Singapore’s evolving work compact.
3. NTUC Youth Taskforce
The NTUC Youth Taskforce was set up on 23 July 2022 to formulate insights and recommendations to address young people’s work-life needs and aspirations, especially in career, finances, and mental well-being.
Young NTUC seeks to engage 10,000 youth aged 18 to 25 through a year-long series of activities and events.
Several engagements were held this year, including a focus group discussion with ITE College West students and a dialogue with student-body initiative Varsity Voices.
4. NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce
In 2021, the NTUC-Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) PME Taskforce was established to find ways to strengthen PMEs’ employment and employability.
It made nine recommendations in four key areas: enhancing workplace fairness; unemployment support and benefits; more hiring opportunities for mature PMEs; and career progression and skills upgrading.
In a session to update the task force’s progress on 26 October 2022, NTUC reiterated its call to the Government to provide income support for PMEs who are involuntarily unemployed.
The Government is currently looking at how it can better support workers who have been displaced.
Among the updates are plans to certify one-third or about 12,000 of all HR professionals in Singapore by 2025 and the Complementarity Assessment Framework in September 2023 that will require Employment Pass applicants to pass the points-based framework and a qualifying salary benchmark.
NTUC and SNEF also signed an agreement to strengthen the NTUC Job Security Council and enhance the jobs ecosystem for PMEs and other work groups.
5. Platform Workers
Since August 2021, NTUC has been calling for more robust legislative backing for platform workers to represent them and actively advocate and advance their interests.
On 15 November 2022, NTUC and its affiliated associations followed up by saying they will continue to advocate for platform workers in long-term financial adequacy, sufficient medical and injury coverage, and better representation.
On 23 November 2022, the Government accepted all 12 recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers, of which NTUC is a member.
These included enhancing platform workers’ protection, ensuring adequate coverage in case of work injury, improving their housing and retirement adequacy, and enhancing their representation.
The Government will progressively implement the recommendations in the latter part of 2024. There will also be changes to legislation.
6. MWC Associate Membership
The Migrant Workers’ Centre launched the new MWC Associate Membership for migrant workers in November 2022.
It is a fully digital membership offering benefits such as insurance coverage, training rebates and discounts on selected goods and services.
To encourage more migrant workers to sign up, MWC will subsidise more than half of the membership fee, bringing the $24 fee per annum down to just $6 for the first year.
Refer to this guide for assistance with registration.
7. Company Training Committee
The $70 million NTUC Company Training Committee (CTC) Grant was announced during the Budget Statement 2022 on 18 February to support companies that have already set up CTCs to implement their business transformation plans.
The grant will co-fund proposals of up to 70 per cent to help companies raise productivity, redesign jobs, upskill workers and improve work prospects.
On 22 July 2022, NTUC announced that it had crossed a milestone by forming CTCs with over 1,000 companies.
8. Women Supporting Women Mentorship Programme
On 23 September 2022, the Women Supporting Women Mentorship Programme was extended from female residents in Punggol Shore Constituency to those in all 21 constituencies in the North East district.
The initiative is supported by the NTUC U Women and Family and the North East Community Development Council.
Under the six-month-long programme, female jobseekers can receive career guidance from women leaders across different industries.
9. Progressive Wage Model
In 2022, two industries announced they would implement the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for their workers.
The waste management PWM announced on 24 January 2022 will benefit some 3,000 resident employees in the waste collection and materials recovery sub-sectors.
It will see the introduction of baseline wages from 1 July 2023; wage increments between July 2023 to July 2028; a mandatory annual PWM bonus for eligible workers starting from January 2024; minimum hourly overtime rates from 1 July 2023, and training requirements.
The retail PWM announced on 15 August 2022 will ensure better wages and a more structured career progression for some 19,000 retail assistants, cashiers and assistant retail supervisors.
Workers can expect improved baseline gross wage increases between 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2025; wage increments over the next three years; minimum training requirements, and a clear career progression pathway.
This year also saw the lift and escalator PWM come into effect on 1 July 2022.
The PWM was also extended to 19,000 in-house cleaners, security, and landscape workers who will be paid a Local Qualifying Salary of at least $1,400 from 1 September 2022.
Come 2023, food services workers can look forward to the PWM being announced for their sector.
Managing Cost of Living
10. Trust Bank
On 1 September 2022, FairPrice Group and Standard Chartered launched Trust Bank, Singapore’s first digital bank.
Trust Bank offers various products, including a credit card, savings account, and family personal accident insurance. The offerings are combined with the current Link Rewards and its Linkpoints loyalty programme.
Consumers can earn rebates on spending at FairPrice Group’s entities such as NTUC FairPrice, Kopitiam, Cheers and Unity.
11. NTUC Income Corporatisation
As part of its strategic plan to better serve customers, NTUC Income announced on 6 January 2022 a proposed corporatisation exercise to convert from a co-operative (co-op) to a company governed by the Companies Act.
Under the exercise, NTUC Income will transfer its existing insurance business and assets to the new company, Income Insurance Limited, and the co-op will be liquidated.
The proposed corporatisation will only change the company’s legal form and not affect its organisational structure or business operations.
Income will continue to strive to empower all Singaporeans and improve their financial well-being.
12. NTUC First Campus Expansion
NTUC First Campus announced on 9 November 2022 that an additional 4,000 places will be available at its centres over the next two years.
This will bring the total number of preschool places offered at 170 My First Skool and Little Skool-House centres to 30,000.
The expansion plan is in line with their mission to provide excellent childcare services to young families in all neighbourhoods in Singapore.