A new 21-member NTUC Central Committee (CC) was elected on 23 November 2023, the last day of the NTUC National Delegates’ Conference (NDC) 2023 at the Orchid Country Club.
The new term saw five new faces elected to the committee. All 16 incumbent CC members who ran in the election were re-elected.
The new NTUC CC has elected K Thanaletchimi from Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) as President; Ng Chee Meng as Secretary-General (SG); and Arasu Duraisamy from Singapore Port Workers’ Union as Secretary for Financial Affairs.
Nearly 450 delegates from NTUC’s 58 affiliated unions participated in the election for the NTUC CC’s new four-year term of 2023 to 2027.
The NTUC CC is NTUC’s highest planning, policy and executive organ and will be responsible for steering the Labour Movement towards its 2027 vision. It will also ensure NTUC remains relevant to and representative of workers’ interests.
Elected Vice-Presidents include Andy Lim from The Singapore Manual & Mercantile Workers’ Union; Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab from Union of Power and Gas Employees; and Lim Teck Chuan from Advanced Manufacturing Employees’ Union.
Cham Hui Fong and Desmond Tan were also elected as the Deputy Secretaries-General. The NTUC CC also appointed Heng Chee How as Deputy Secretary-General, bringing the total number of CC members to 22.
New NTUC President K Thanaletchimi, 57, is a veteran union leader who has stepped up from her Vice-President position in the committee.
Ms Thanaletchimi has served in HSEU for 16 years, with the last 13 years as its President. She was the driving force behind the merger of the National University Hospital Employees’ Union (NUHEU) and the Healthcare Corporation of Singapore Staff Union, which led to the formation of the HSEU in 2006. Ms Thanaletchimi was NUHEU President at the time.
She was also appointed the Labour Nominated Member of Parliament from 2016 to 2018, championing many causes in Parliament, including women’s issues.
“I humbly accepted the position of President. I will do my best to steer towards the direction that NTUC has set, especially during the National Delegates’ Conference.
“I'll be the president for all workers and ensure that the plight of the workers are heard, and ensure that their wages, work prospects and welfare grows along with it,” she said.
Ms Thanaletchimi’s election as the new NTUC President also marks the end of the term for NTUC’s second female president, Mary Liew.
Ms Liew held the NTUC President position for two terms, from 2015 to 2019 and 2019 to 2023. She is currently the General Secretary of Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union.
“Serving as President of NTUC since 2015, my journey in the Labour Movement championing workers’ interests and rights has been nothing short of exhilarating and fulfilling.
“From negotiating better wages for our vulnerable workers at the National Wages Council to calling for better work prospects for women and PMEs [professionals, managers, and executives] at the workplaces, and caring for our members’ welfare, I have been humbled and privileged to serve them with my heart,” she said in a media statement.
Ms Liew also called on the delegates to lend their full support to the new NTUC CC in the next chapter of helping workers.
“As a new NTUC President and NTUC CC take over the reins, I personally call on our union leaders and tripartite partners to continue to lend their strongest support to them.
“I believe that the new NTUC CC is a strong team, with a keen sense of unity and purpose that would serve our members and workers well,” she added.
New members in the NTUC CC are Larry Gwee from Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union, Daniel Loh from Air-Transport Executive Staff Union, Julie Cheong from Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union, Mike Thiruman from Singapore Teachers’ Union, and Noor Irdawaty Jammarudin from Building Construction And Timber Industries Employees’ Union.
New members welcomed the opportunity to serve in the Labour Movement.
"I seek to ensure lifelong employability of mid-career workers and ensure they can continue working beyond 63. My goals are to push for more career coaching and self-planning for individual workers to support unions to do better for their own union members.
"I've been working with Brother Sanjeev (fellow CC member) for a long time now. The public sector is generally very good, but I think we can do more in terms of workers caregiving needs, workers who may want to have flexible work arrangements... Hopefully there will be a whole-of-government effort to support that kind of move," said Mr Thiruman.
"I want to be the voice on the ground where we can feedback all the necessary information to make lives better not just for the lower income, but also the middle-income, and push them to upskill to have better skills and be competitive in the industry. That gives you the opportunity to market yourself, so you can get a better renumeration package.
"I hope I can contribute by bringing in more greenfield companies...we are enticing them with CTC [Company Training Committee] grants and hopefully they use it by 2026," added Ms Cheong.
"I would like to see future expansion of the PWM [Progressive Wage Model] and the new Career Progression Model. As a woman and a mother, I also want to champion flexible work arrangements.
"I would think that in four years' time, we would have at least more PWMs in the built environment sector. I also want more sectors to implement PWM," added Ms Irdawaty.
“I believe the new NTUC CC has the collective wisdom, tenacity and care, like the previous NTUC CC, to take actions, no matter how challenging, that would benefit our workers.
“We will charge ahead and continue to innovate so that we can remain relevant to the workers,” said NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng at the media conference to announce the results.
Mr Ng reiterated NTUC’s new strategies from the first day of NDC 2023 to ramp up successful initiatives and make a bigger positive impact and entrench an organisational innovation culture to stay relevant.
“In the first instance, we will want to scale all the different initiatives that have been tested to be successful in the workplace, chief of which is the Company Training Committee. We want to scale it to 2,500 in 2025 because it makes a difference to workers’ lives and livelihoods and creates a win-win for employers as well.
“We will work doubly hard to set up the innovation capability to drive us forward, so that we can always remain adaptive, agile and relevant to the changing needs of the workforce,” he said.
Ms Thanaletchimi added that the new CC will also focus on leadership development and refresh to thrive in a changed world.
“It is important to bring in younger leaders on board and plan for the future. There was a lot of emphasis on recruitment of youth, the younger ones below 35 especially, to come onboard the Labour Movement, and gradually put up a pipeline to grow them into the leadership,” she said.