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NTUC Secretary-General: Good Jobs and Skills Necessary Ingredients to Help Workers Cope with Rising Costs

NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng gives details on NTUC’s plans to help workers in 2022.
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07 Feb 2022
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The best way to beat inflation and sustainably cope with the cost of living is by increasing productivity and making sure workers have good jobs and skills, believes NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.

Mr Ng spoke to the media on 7 February 2022 at a press briefing detailing NTUC’s focus this year.

“The answer to dealing with the cost of living is to ensure our workers maintain a good job and earn a good wage. In the process, NTUC wants to step in to see how we can, in partnership [with businesses], upgrade workers’ skills so they can be prepared to seize new opportunities and gain better work prospects,” he said.

NTUC’s focus areas in 2022 include:
- Training workers and transforming businesses to enable better wages and work prospects.
- Protecting and representing a wider group of workers in different segments.
- Continuing to cushion the impact of the cost of living through NTUC social enterprises.

Training and Transformation

NTUC said it would continue to pay close attention to safeguarding the workforce’s income and security growth this year.

NTUC and its affiliated unions have set up 811 company training committees (CTCs). The CTC initiative was launched in April 2019 to identify the training and skills workers need to keep up with transformation.

To complement the CTCs, NTUC also set up the training and placement ecosystem in 2021, supplemented by the operation and technology roadmap (OTR) process. Some 266 companies have completed the OTR.

Beyond the CTCs, tripartite partners are also working to transform businesses and workers at a sectoral level.

Tripartite academies will also be established for sectors where transformation is needed, said Mr Ng.

For example, NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) is currently discussing to pilot a tourism career hub with the Singapore Tourism Board. The Labour Movement is also looking at building on existing academies such as the Singapore Bus Academy to ensure workers’ skills are kept in pace with industry developments.

NTUC also gave an update to the NTUC Job Security Council (JSC). From February 2020 to December 2021, NTUC’s e2i has helped match more than 46,000 workers to new or secondary jobs.

Cushioning Cost of Living Impact

On the social front, Mr Ng said that NTUC social enterprises will help members and workers  "stretch their dollar" and cushion the impact of the cost of living.

“NTUC has always been helping Singaporeans, especially when cost pressures are felt. FairPrice Group has done so for so many years. We will, in 2022, look at possibilities and measures to mitigate increases of actual business costs that are impacting society,” he said.

Protecting and Representing Workers  

Mr Ng added that Labour Movement would continue to look after and protect different workforce segments in 2022. The worker groups include the lower-wage, PMEs, the self-employed, older workers, youth, and women.

Lower-Wage Workers

NTUC said it will work with tripartite partners to quicken and widen the implementation of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM). Some potential new sectors for the PWM include pest management and strata and facilities management.


NTUC and its partners will look at key areas such as fair workplace opportunities for local PMEs, strengthening the Employment Pass framework and process in favour of local PMEs, and supporting local PMEs who are involuntarily unemployed.


For self-employed persons, NTUC said it would continue to contribute as members of the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers and look at improving working terms and conditions and medical and injury coverage.

Older Workers

On older workers, NTUC said it would look at the next steps in raising of the statutory retirement and re-employment ages to 65 and 70 and the increase to the CPF contributions.


NTUC will continue to partner with institutes of higher learning to ensure real placement opportunities for fresh entrants to the workforce through programmes such as internships.

Women and Family

NTUC's training and placement ecosystem will help ease women looking to return to work through targeted assistance and dedicated job matching. NTUC is also working closely with companies to redesign jobs and adopt family-friendly practices.

Mr Ng said: “NTUC has always been championing workers in the different segments, both in the traditional space and in new spaces such as the PMEs and gig workers. But essentially, our focus in 2022 is to upskill our workers in anticipation of a rebound in the economy, and then we can move full steam ahead into Industry 4.0.”