Labour Day 2023: RDU calls for a compassionate society that values workers

Labour Day 2023: RDU calls for a compassionate society that values workers

SINGAPORE — Labour Day is a celebration of the contributions of Singapore’s diverse working class, but the post-COVID-19 world has introduced new challenges for these workers.

In its May Day message, the Political party Red Dot United (RDU) urges for a focus on real wage growth, ensuring workers can access a higher standard of living and maintain social stability.

Ravi Philemon, Secretary-General of RDU, said, “Globalisation aggravates inequality, and one measure used to track this is the share of wages in national income. Despite having one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, our wage share of GDP is around 43%. This is lower than that of most developed economies, which is at 50% or more, and this may mean that workers in Singapore are underpaid.”

The RDU also questions if Singapore’s economic growth has disproportionately benefitted multinational companies and capital owners at the expense of workers.

They propose pegging Ministerial salaries to multiples of the Median Gross Monthly Income from Work, to encourage policies that grow wages for all workers.

In addition, RDU calls for the Government to consider a Universal Basic Income (UBI) of $100 for all Singaporeans to provide security amidst automation and job displacement.

Ravi Philemon added, “Policy proposals must be both idealistic and incremental, and RDU’s policy proposal for UBI is based on these values. As automation makes many jobs vulnerable to becoming obsolete, as the value of work becomes lesser and lesser, as society becomes more unequal, UBI is a conversation we, as a society, should have. And as we have this conversation, we can decide together if the amount must be revised.”

To further protect workers, RDU proposes a Singaporean First Hiring Framework (SFHF) that prioritizes local workers and provides incentives for companies to hire HR managers with good compliance records.

They also support the campaign for Workers’ Right to Sit while Working, which aims to protect basic rights for local workers.

Migrant workers should also be treated fairly, with their rights and welfare protected under the law.

The Doughnut Economy model, which balances economic growth and social well-being within the planet’s limits, is suggested as a means to create a more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities for workers.

This model can promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth that supports workers while also protecting the environment.

RDU reaffirms its commitment to building a compassionate and inclusive society that prioritizes the well-being and dignity of all individuals, including workers.

It emphasizes the importance of promoting policies and initiatives that support social justice and reduce inequality, such as implementing an UBI, ensuring access to affordable housing and healthcare, and empowering workers to organize and bargain collectively.

RDU also stresses the need to raise awareness and educate the public about the challenges faced by different groups of workers, including migrant and low-wage workers.

By striving for a compassionate society, RDU envisions a just and equitable future where all workers’ contributions are valued and respected.

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