By Leong Sze Hian
Alas, can have union?
I refer the article “Up to 7,500 employees to benefit as MBS joins union” (Today, Oct 30).
2 years of protracted attempts?
It states that “The agreement was reached after two years of protracted attempts by the AREU, including publicity drives at the resort, to get MBS on board as a willing partner and become a unionised company. Singapore’s other integrated resort operator, Resorts World Sentosa, signed a similar agreement with it three years ago.”
Pathetic state of labour movement?
This may yet be another example showing the pathetic state of our labour movement and labour laws.
Is there any developed democratic country that allows employers to refuse to allow workers to form a union? And as if succeeding “after two years of protracted attempts by the union movement” is arguably being reported as a triumph!
In this regard, the Straits Times report “MBS opens door for workers to join union” (Oct 30) said “The nod from the integrated resort was described as “a significant breakthrough” by the Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union (AREU), which had taken steps that could have forced the issue with the holding of a secret ballot among the workers”.
Agreeement does not cover “salary”?
Also, since “The terms of the agreement, however, do not provide for collective bargaining and negotiations over salary” – Isn’t this exclusion making the agreement redundant since “salary” might be the most important benefit to the workers?
Is there any other labour movement in any developed democratic country that would arrange for such an agreement?
Resorts World Sentosa also don’t cover “salary”.
As if the above wasn’t bad enough, the report also state that the terms penned in the agreement are similar to those agreed on with Resorts World Sentosa, which had given the green light to AREU in 2011. This imply that all the workers in the integrated resorts have this type of “wayang” agreement.
Union’s perception of their role?
What is perhaps even more telling as to how our unions view their role of fighting for workers’ rights, When the union was asked why the discussions took so long, they replied to the paper that it’s the norm and that every company will ask for time.
Also, since the MOU is “to offer union membership to more than 80 per cent of the integrated resort’s staff” – what about the other 20 per cent?
Asean Human Rights Declaration?
Singapore is a signatory to the Asean Human Rights Declaration, in which article 27 (2) says “Every person has the right to form trade unions and join the trade union of his or her choice for the protection of his or her interests, in accordance with national laws and regulations.”
So, did we sign it just for show, or really implementing it in spirit? – I hope the answer is the obvious one – for the sake of Singapore’s workers.