SINGAPORE – In his May Day Rally speech on Monday, labour chief Ng Chee Meng emphasized the need for the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to improve its support for professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs) and young workers.
Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, the rally focused on closing the gap for these underserved segments and building on current efforts to raise wages and enhance workers’ welfare.
As part of the ongoing efforts, 12,000 human resources practitioners will be certified to comply with fair employment practices.
To address youth concerns, NTUC launched a youth task force one year ago that has engaged 10,000 youth. This led to the development of the Career Starter Lab, a pilot scheme aimed at providing quality internships and mentorships, set to launch in the second half of 2023.
These initiatives are part of a wider revamp of NTUC’s business, membership, and training model over the past four years to adapt to changing worker demographics and economic shifts.
The labour movement has expanded its membership from 980,000 in 2019 to 1.12 million today, with a goal of 1.5 million members by 2030.
Other changes to NTUC’s business model include collaborating with freelancers, launching a partnership model with small- and medium-sized enterprises, and introducing an associate membership program for migrant workers.
In terms of training, the labour movement has set up a training and transformation group, adopted an integrated approach to continuing education, and partnered with Standard Chartered to create Trust Bank, a successful digital banking venture.
Contrasting NTUC’s approach to labour relations with more combative, confrontational strategies seen in other parts of the world, Ng praised the movement’s focus on collaboration and partnerships.
He cited the expansion of the Progressive Wage Model and increased protection for platform and mature workers as examples of successful initiatives.
In closing, Ng called for the labour movement to continue fostering an innovative culture and decisively implementing new business strategies. “Should we fail, fail fast, and learn fast, in practice… Then we go out again, try again, and move towards success,” he said.
On top of being the labour movement leader, Ng is a former People’s Action Party Minister and member of the PAP Central Executive Committee. Ng lost his place in the cabinet after losing in the 2020 General Election in Seng Kang against a new team of Workers’ Party candidates.