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12 ways NTUC improved our workers’ lives in 2023

A renewed focus on helping workers, easing the cost of living, and workforce transformation headlined this year’s efforts.
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By NTUC Content Team 27 Dec 2023
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2023 has been about listening to what our workers want and need to thrive in a shifting work landscape.


Through its #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations (#EWMC) campaign to gather insights from workers across life stages, NTUC has renewed its compact with workers to focus on helping youth, caregivers, mid-career workers, vulnerable workers, and older workers.


Other focus areas included support for inflation and workforce transformation.


We unbox the 12 most significant NTUC initiatives that benefited our workers in 2023.


Protecting Your Work Rights


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1. Workers’ Compact

#EveryWorkerMatters Conversations (#EWMC), NTUC’s year-long public exercise to renew its compact with workers across all life stages through understanding their concerns, priorities, and aspirations, concluded on 29 September 2023.


NTUC will use the #EWMC Report findings from its engagements with over 42,000 workers to shape its renewed workers’ compact.


The recommendations include empowering youth with a more comprehensive support system; assuring mid-career workers of a just transition to more resilient career pathways; supporting caregivers in balancing work and personal commitments; helping older workers stay employed for as long as they desire; giving vulnerable workers, especially those in essential services, recognition, respect, and reward for their contributions.


Some recommendations have contributed towards policy shifts in the Forward SG Report. These include targeted support for involuntarily unemployed jobseekers, training allowances for mid-career workers to build deep skills and encouraging more employers to introduce better workplace support for caregivers.


Read the #EWMC Report here.


2. Young Workers

New youth initiatives were launched to help young workers navigate the crucial transition from school to the workforce. These were based on insights from the NTUC Youth Taskforce’s year-long engagements with over 10,000 youth—the “The New Gen Worker” Report 2023 detailed key findings and recommendations.


On 27 April 2023, NTUC piloted the new Career Starter Lab, an enhanced career trial with mentorship to help youth kickstart their career journeys to become working adults. It aims to support National Servicemen who have recently completed their full-time National Service and fresh graduates from Institutes of Higher Learning. The Career Starter Lab will ride on an ecosystem supported by the Singapore National Employers Federation, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Home Affairs, employers, Young NTUC, NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and other partners.


On 14 July 2023, NTUC introduced a new fully digital NTUC Starter Membership to meet youth’s work, lifestyle, and career transition needs. The membership aims to address youth’s career-related concerns and provide support as they enter the workforce. NTUC also announced a new partnership with the Institute of Technical Education to provide sector-specific career mentorships, pre-employment workshops and work opportunities to over 1,500 youths.


3. Platform Workers

Since August 2021, NTUC’s calls for formal representation to protect and represent platform workers and advance their interests have borne fruit.


On 12 July 2023, the Manpower Ministry accepted the Tripartite Workgroup on Representation for Platform Workers’ eight recommendations to enhance the protection of platform workers. The scope covers the process for a platform worker representative body (PWRB) to obtain a mandate for representation, the scope of negotiations and formalising agreements, and resolving disagreements between representative bodies and platform operators. The recommendations are slated for implementation in 2024.


On 7 August 2023, Grab Singapore became the first platform operator to ink a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) and National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA) to enhance its workers’ representation.


On 29 November 2023, TADA signed an agreement with NPHVA and NDCA to recognise a new PWRB to formally represent the interests of TADA’s driver and delivery partners. Workers will also benefit from other initiatives like skills development and membership support.


On 6 December 2023, NTUC and its affiliated associations launched the new NTUC Care Fund (Work Injury Relief) scheme to provide eligible driver and delivery members injured on the job with $250 worth of NTUC FairPrice vouchers.


Platform workers can join NTUC U FSE, the voice for platform workers, to improve their wages, welfare, and work prospects.


4. Migrant Workers

Efforts were also taken in 2023 to improve migrant workers’ lives.


On 23 May 2023, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) and Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) joined forces to establish a third CDEConnect centre in Woodlands to expand the support network available to migrant domestic workers (MDWs) and their employers. The three CDEConnect centres can carry out 9,000 interviews monthly for first-time MDWs.


On 11 June 2023, the Migrant Workers’ Centre’s (MWC) Associate Membership for migrant workers was enhanced with better benefits such as affordable dental services and exclusive members’ rates on applicable items from the MWC Recreation Centre’s supermarket. More benefits were added on 17 December 2023, including a partnership with Western Union for members to enjoy a 20 per cent discount on remittance fees.


Click here for more information on the Migrant Workers’ Centre Associate Membership.


5. Workplace Fairness

The Government accepted on 4 August 2023 the final recommendations of the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness (TCWF) to have a legislative framework to make workplaces fairer. The legislation seeks to protect workers and jobseekers against unfair or discriminatory practices based on age, sex, marital status, pregnancy status, caregiving responsibilities, race, language and religion, disability, and mental health conditions. The recommendations are expected to be implemented in 2024.


6. NTUC Leadership

Union delegates elected on 23 November 2023 a new 21-member NTUC Central Committee (CC) to steer the Labour Movement forward for the four-year term of 2023 to 2027.


K Thanaletchimi was elected as the President along with five new members. Heng Chee How was also appointed NTUC Deputy Secretary-General, bringing the total number of CC members to 22.


The new CC will carry out NTUC’s new vision to scale its work to champion workers’ interests and make a greater, broader positive impact; set in place an innovation culture that will keep NTUC an agile, adaptive, and relevant organisation; and focus on leadership development and refresh to thrive in a changed world.


7. NTUC Membership

NTUC announced on 22 November 2023 that it is on track to reach its target of 1.5 million members by 2030.


With more members onboard, the congress will be able to help more workers and have a bigger voice to speak up for workers’ rights.


NTUC also highlighted its efforts from 2019 to 2023 to aid lower-wage workers, platform workers, mature workers, small- and medium-sized enterprise workers, professionals, managers and executives, youth, and caregivers and ease the cost of living.


Sign up as a member today.


Develop Your Career



8. Company Training Committee

NTUC’s Company Training Committee (CTC) initiative has grown significantly since it was mooted in 2019.


As of 31 October 2023, NTUC estimates that some 123,000 workers have improved productivity, work prospects and wages.


As of 1 December 2023, some 1,700 companies have onboarded the initiative. Around 84 companies have tapped into the NTUC CTC Grant, benefiting around 1,494 workers who can expect an average wage increase of 5.2 per cent above their annual increment.


Click here to find out more about the CTC and CTC Grant.


9. C U Back at Work Programme

On 29 April 2023, NTUC U Women and Family teamed up with environmental services firm Chye Thiam Maintenance to launch a first-of-a-kind programme that offers 500 roles to cater to women’s caregiving schedules.


The C U Back at work programme will see successful women returners be part of an elite cleaning workforce redesigned with flexible work arrangements, specialised training, and a progressive career pathway.


Returners can expect starting salaries of up to $3,000 a month, more than what cleaners currently earn under the Progressive Wage Model.


10. Progressive Wage Model

The food services Progressive Wage Model (PWM) was launched on 15 February 2023 to cover around 41,000 full- and part-time food services workers, including food/drink stall assistants, kitchen assistants, food service counter attendants, cooks, waiters, and waiter supervisors. Workers can expect a three-year wage increase from 1 March 2023 to 28 February 2026. Around 17,000 lower-wage workers are benefiting from higher wages and a structured career pathway.


On 22 November 2023, NTUC updated that the PWM has expanded, with wages and work prospects enhanced across different sectors to benefit 135,000 lower-wage workers.


Managing Cost of Living

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11. FairPrice Group

Fairprice Group (FPG) launched on 16 June 2023 the Save Every Day campaign to help Singaporeans save over $2,000 on their grocery purchases at FairPrice supermarkets, online delivery and via the FPG app. Consumers also enjoyed the 50 days of savings campaign on the FPG app and the 50 cents kopi and teh deal at participating Kopitiam outlets.


On 27 November 2023, FPG announced that it will absorb the one per cent Goods and Services Tax increase taking effect in January 2024 on 500 essential goods in the first six months of the year. FPG will also extend their existing Pioneer Generation, Merdeka Generation, and Community Health Assist Scheme Blue discount schemes for an additional year, from January to December 2024.


Family and Health



12. Caregivers and women

In 2023, NTUC made a concerted effort to urge employers to give caregivers, especially women, more support, like flexible work arrangements (FWA) and family-friendly leave. The aim was to help them better manage their work and caregiving responsibilities.


Specific calls were made to encourage FWA policies that are flexible enough to cater to different caregivers using initiatives like job redesign and include FWA jobs on job portals.


Another call was to provide more support to care for elderly family members with paid caregiving leave and refined employee support schemes.