NTUC Renews Its Compact with Workers at May Day Rally

NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng also shared how the congress will help address higher cost of living, assist youths and further transform Singapore’s workforce.
By Ian Tan Hanhonn 01 May 2022

Amidst geo-political and economic uncertainties, NTUC will continue to anchor on its core purpose to advance workers’ interests and uplift their lives by helping them attain better wages, welfare, and work prospects.

NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng renewed the NTUC’s compact with workers at the May Day Rally on 1 May 2022 at Downtown East.

As the nation cautiously exits over two years strict COVID-19 restrictions, Mr Ng shared with some 1,000 onsite participants, the new challenges already await the people.

Globally, he cited security concerns, great power rivalries, and economic uncertainties. Locally, the increase in cost of living, and Singapore’s ageing workforce demographics.

He said: “As a Labour Movement, we must be cognisant of these major issues, study the impact, and work with tripartite partners on the way forward.”

He added that no matter the global situation, NTUC will do more to resolve workers’ issues, as well as connect with both current and new generations of workers, across all work force segments.

“We must innovate to refresh and strengthen our workers’ compact, so that NTUC can protect each segment of worker and uplift their lives,” he said.

Mr Ng also took the opportunity to thank Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for acknowledging the contributions of NTUC and its affiliated unions and associations in his keynote address.

Mr Ng also welcomed Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who was recently endorsed as the leader of the 4G team, to give his inaugural May Day Rally speech.

Focusing on Youth

NTUC will also be setting up a youth task force to engage the younger generation of workers who will be entering, or who have recently entered, the workforce

From NTUC’s initial research study, Mr Ng said that youths are primarily concerned about career prospects, finances and mental well-being. Currently, they tend to tackle such issues either through self-help, or through advice received from their peers and workplace colleagues.

Mr Ng believes that NTUC can create value in this space to help these youths.

“As a start, we have established the Youth Career Network with IHL [institutes of higher learning] and partners. This is a pool of 400 volunteer career mentors with diverse industry experience to provide career assistance for graduating youths and young workers,” he said.

For starters, NTUC has already established its Youth Career Network with partners and Institutes of Higher Learning. He shared that this pool of 400 volunteer, career mentors can provide career assistance to graduating youths and young workers.

Mr Ng also shared that Young NTUC has launched the first WSQ-Certified Training in Peer-to-Peer Mental Well-being Support @ Work. More than 350 union leaders, line managers and HR practitioners have since undergone training.

Helping Members Manage Cost

In view of supply chain disruptions, increased energy and food prices, Mr Ng said that NTUC is aware that workers are feeling the pinch the heightened cost of living.

“I understand your concerns, and we will do our best to stretch your dollar,” he said.

After highlighting that FairPrice Group will continue to help keep necessities affordable, Mr Ng also talked about  FairPrice Group’s latest initiative which will help NTUC members and NTUC Link members enjoy 10 per cent savings when they make their purchases at participating Kopitiam and Foodfare outlets using the FairPrice app.

Mr Ng shared that the initiative will potentially help up to 2.4 million members cope with rising costs.

Transforming Singapore’s Workforce

Beyond immediate cost of living concerns, Mr Ng said that NTUC must cast its vision further afield.

“Amidst all the uncertainties, we must redouble our efforts to upskill our workers,” he said.

And how NTUC plans to do this, is through its Company Training Committees (CTCs) and Transformation Committee initiatives.

“I would like to thank Brother Lawrence Wong for the $100M grant to scale workforce and enterprise transformation efforts. From this, our partner companies will be able to tap on the $70M NTUC CTC Grant to scale transformation,” he said.

NTUC will aim to support and qualify some 1,000 employer partners for the grant over the next four years.