The Medal of Honour is conferred on special individuals who have rendered distinguished services to the Labour Movement.
Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong was conferred the Medal of Honour on 22 May 2023. The award is this year’s top award at the NTUC May Day Awards 2023 ceremony.
The ceremony at Suntec City Convention Centre was hosted by NTUC President Mary Liew and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng. More than 1,200 guests consisting of tripartite partners and workers were present at the event.
DPM Wong strongly supported NTUC and unions’ efforts and made key decisions that protect workers and their livelihoods.
As Singapore’s Minister for Finance, DPM Wong set aside a $100 million budget for NTUC to encourage companies to set up Company Training Committees (CTC). The CTCs support the upskilling of workers in tandem with business transformation.
He also introduced the Jobs-Skills Integrator initiative, which brings together industry, training and employment facilitation partners, including NTUC, to improve training and job matching of workers.
DPM Wong has also strongly advocated improving workers’ employment and wages, especially for the lower-income and vulnerable.
He initiated the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme to support progressive wages and significantly enhanced the Workfare Income Supplement, expanding its coverage to younger workers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he extended the Jobs Growth Incentive scheme to encourage employers to hire Singaporeans so that workers can keep their jobs.
Beyond introducing initiatives that uplift the lives of workers, he works closely with NTUC and its affiliated unions – the Union of Power And Gas Employees (UPAGE) and the Building Construction And Timber Industries Employees’ Union, as union advisor, to understand and support the needs and aspirations of their union members and workers.
In an interview with NTUC’s LabourBeat, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said: “I thank the NTUC Central Committee for this recognition and honour.
“I’ve seen first-hand the commitment and dedication of our union leaders and tripartite partners in serving the interests of our fellow workers and Singaporeans, so the award to me affirms the importance of tripartite partnership and the key role of the Labour Movement in taking our country forward.”
NTUC President Mary Liew said: “With a caring heart for workers, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has been championing workers’ interests and dedicating time and support to our Labour Movement. He has been a strong advocate and supporter of workers and the tripartite model in Singapore. He continues to prioritise workers’ concerns as he leads the fourth-generation team in a challenging post-pandemic environment.
“We also commend all our awardees for their unwavering spirit and contributions in advocating and advancing workers’ wages, welfare, and work prospects. We believe that #EveryWorkerMatters and encourage all awardees to continue upholding this purpose and play a role in improving our workers’ livelihoods.”
Various awards were conferred on union leaders, workers, company management, government representatives and organisations for their outstanding contributions to the Labour Movement.
The recipients were also recognised for their commitment to championing all workers’ interests and rights and being exemplary workplace role models.
Union leaders were awarded for showing dedication to championing workers’ interests by listening to concerns from the ground, addressing pain points surfaced by workers, and working persistently to negotiate with employers for better working conditions and benefits.
Exemplary workers have embodied the spirit of #EveryWorkerMatters and demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability in the face of the ever-shifting condition of the modern workforce.
Their dedication to upskilling, lifelong learning, and perseverance to acquire new skills enabled them to stay relevant in their careers alongside business and industry transformation.
Management partners and organisations have also been committed to tripartism, recognising that workers are the core of their businesses and actively supporting unions whilst balancing business considerations.
Despite the uncertain business climate over the past two years, these partners and companies have embraced and pushed for workplace transformation and upskilling to ensure employees remain ready and relevant for employment.