Tripartite Guidelines

Tripartite guidelines and advisories are formulated by the tripartite partners – National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) – to provide frameworks, benchmarks and recommendations for employers to follow in response to changing trends in the economy and workforce or to crises that hit Singapore.

For example, tripartite guidelines and advisories have been issued for best employment practices like national wage guidelines, fair employment, flexible work arrangements, re-employment of older workers, best sourcing, managing workplace harassment, expanding scope of limited representation for executives, extending scope of union representation for executives, haze-related workplace measures and measures to tackle Influenza A (H1N1) and MERS-CoV. In times of crises, such as during the economic recession of 2008/9, the tripartite partners issued tripartite guidelines on managing excess manpower so that businesses could continue to operate while workers could continue to keep their jobs.

In order to better achieve solutions for industry-wide issues, various sectoral tripartite committees were set up by bringing together unions, management and the government agencies. To date, various notable tripartite committees have been set up. These include the National Wages Council, Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices and Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers, among others.

Tripartite Clusters

To date, there are 12 tripartite clusters consisting representatives from employers, unions and government agencies in 12 different industries or sectors. The primary purpose of these clusters is to look at how the Progressive Wage Model can be implemented in their industries or sectors; and setting targets for progressive wage increases specific to their industries, especially for the more vulnerable workers such as low-wage earners, women, and older workers. In addition, these tripartite clusters explore work areas that require strengthening so as to enhance productivity and competitiveness for their respective industries and work places.

Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners

In October 2012, the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC), a tripartite effort stemming from the Labour Movement’s Building and Facility Management Services (BFM) Cluster, which is made up of seven unions, released its recommendations for the cleaning industry in three sub-sectors, namely the office and commercial buildings, food and beverage (F&B) establishment, and conservancy sectors.

The recommendations aim to help cleaners earn progressively higher wages with, skills upgrading and structured career advancement, as well as productivity improvements in the industry through technology and process re-design. Following engagements with the industry's stakeholders, further refinements have been made to the TCC recommendations.

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Tripartite Cluster for Landscape Industry

The Tripartite Cluster for Landscape Industry (TCL) was formed in April 2014 to develop a Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the landscape industry that would provide a pathway for landscape workers to progress with training and improvements in productivity and standards.

Introducing the PWM in the landscape industry is a step forward in uplifting the image of the landscape industry and professionalising the industry. The PWM gives landscape workers a clearer pathway to career progress and will allow them to earn higher wages that will commensurate with improved training, better skill sets, higher standards and higher productivity.

The PWM also encourages landscape companies to compete based on productivity instead of price alone. As for service buyers, they can be assured of higher quality services. With all these steps in place, the landscape industry will be better placed to attract and retain quality manpower to meet its growing needs.

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Security Tripartite Cluster

The Security Tripartite Cluster (STC) was formed in September 2013 to address several industry challenges through the development of a Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the private security industry. The PWM would create a roadmap for raising basic wages, skills and productivity, and set out an approach for reducing the industry’s reliance on excessive overtime (OT) hours to meet manpower needs.

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