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What happened last week at NTUC

a year ago / ntuc / worklifesg

And how it might affect your life in the next four years!

Hi guys!

As you may already know, last week was a VERY important week at the NTUC National Delegates' Conference as they elected their 21-man Central Committee (the highest decision-making body) to take the Labour Movement and its work forward into the next four years!

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(Source)

Kinda like another GE of sorts :sweat_smile:

And so, from now till 2019, they will be working on 3 key thrusts - CARE, FAIR, GROW - which expands into 12 other areas.

This Care/Fair/Grow model seeks to CARE for our working people, ensure that employers are FAIR to their workers and to help them GROW their careers and aims to cover all workers in Singapore.

Here's what it could mean for you (and people you know!)

Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs)

Most of us (erm, according to my blog stats haha) fall under this category so you'll be glad to know that with the amendments to the Employment Act enacted in April 2014, PMEs who earn $4,500 or less are now more adequately covered by the law on a wider range of employee rights.

As the Labour Movement strives to better represent PMEs and be more relevant to us, they have embarked on the U Associates programme, where they tie up with professional bodies, associations and guilds to reach out to members of specific industries or trade and offer courses for us to advance in our careers.

Recently, they just had the first intake of the pilot Young Engineers Leadership (YEL) Program. In fact, this first batch just held their graduation ceremony last month! As engineers, they have depth in their area of training and expertise, but that can only bring them to a certain point. In order to reach C-suites kind of roles, they need breadth too, so this is where NTUC hopes to add value.

Moving forward, NTUC will not stop at just the engineering sector, they have progressively signed with some 20 professional bodies (and still counting!) to chart new career progression programmes for PMETs in other sectors such as the advertising industry and also housing agents and financial planners.

Freelancers and Self-Employed (FSEs)

A couple of months back, I wrote a post that got pretty popular about the strawberry generation in Singapore. The workscape in Singapore has been rapidly changing and according to labour chief Chan Chun Sing, the new generation of workers are much more fleet-footed as compared to the previous generation. Millennials are different and what they want from life and from work are very different too.

Just yesterday I was chatting to a friend in his mid-20s while writing this post - R, if you're reading this post, yes it's you - and he was sharing about how he is thinking of quitting his full-time job to work on a freelance basis so he can spend more time with his parents and to achieve better work-life balance whilst being able to travel more. This is not an isolated example... as more young people opt to freelance, NTUC seeks to provide greater protection for this portion of the workforce. There will be new forms and mechanisms that they will be working on that includes legislations and dispute resolution mechanisms, like the employment claims tribunal.

The Labour Movement needs to constantly evolve to cater to changing needs, aspirations and expectations.

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For a start, you can check out the Freelance Professionals Facebook community initiated by NTUC for media/ creative professionals and you might also want to attend the U Creative Summit happening on 11 November.

Low-wage Workers

I've mentioned before that I'm really not a fan of minimum wage as it effectively becomes maximum wage (in fact most economists oppose the concept of a minimum wage because it actually harms those it is intended to help) and I'm glad that the Progressive Wage Model introduced in June 2012 and implemented in several low-wage sectors such as cleaning, landscape and security has helped more than 100,000 workers from 300 unionised companies. Moving forward, NTUC aims to implement this model and skills ladder across all industries - the PWM is not just a tool for low-wage workers; many PMEs from the healthcare, education and public sectors have also benefited from the scheme.

Additionally, the NTUC social enterprises are stepping up to provide increasing relevant services such as to make family activities more affordable and accessible.

The Labour Movement will also work on promoting positive and safe work environments for all unionised workplaces.

Evergreen/senior workers

Likewise with longer life expectancy (Singapore ranks 4th in the world in longevity yo!), we now have more senior workers in the work force. Over the past four years, we have seen the labour movement working to enhance our retirement needs such as increasing CPF contribution rates for mature workers, raising of re-employment age ceiling from 65 to 67 and review of salary ceiling for CPF contribution. Moving forward, the SkillsFuture initiative aims to empower Singaporeans to chart their career paths and take on good jobs of the future so we can remain relevant even in our senior years. Lifelong learning :muscle:

Migrant workers

You guys should know by now how close this topic is to my heart.

NTUC has also done quite a fair bit to reaches out to about 100,000 migrant workers on fair employment practices and social integration yearly. In the next few years, the labour movement will continue to work on creating a positive & safe work environment and through collaboration with key unions with high migrant worker membership, the Migrant Workers' Centre hopes to increase the frequency of workplace outreach to migrant workers. Also, with the recent industrial accidents happening in the last few months, NTUC will also work with employers and MOM to “reduce these to a minimum, if not to eliminate this where possible.”