NTUC

Low-Wage Jobs – Necessary for Singapore’s Economy

By Durga Elamaran

A recent cleaners’ strike in far-away England, triggered by low wages and even poorer working conditions, has brought the plight of this invisible army to the fore as rubbish bins overflowed and the smell of sewage accumulated.

Even as we continue to enjoy the peace and stability here in Singapore, we should all be reminded of the vital role that low-wage workers play, even in first world economies. (Read More Here!)

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A Forward-Moving Movement

Set up in 1961, NTUC has come a long way since its humble days operating from homes and holding meetings at public places such as the library and museum. Today, the NTUC has become an all-encompassing organisation with interests all over the country. However, its mission is still the same – to be the voice of the workers. As the organisation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we talk to three NTUC officers who share with us what it is like to be working in the Labour Movement.

By Farhan Shah

“One part I like about my job is that I can say no to a CEO. I’ve said no a lot of times to a number of them. There aren’t many jobs with such an opportunity!” David Lim says, his hearty laughs echoing around the cavernous room.

With more than five years of experience in the field, the 37-year-old has had more than his fair share of companies that try to shortchange their employees. That’s when he steps in, acting as a mediator between the disgruntled workers and the company’s management.

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Champions Of Workers

The staff of NTUC are the proverbial delegates of a higher cause championing the interests of working people and giving them a voice like no other. In our present day me-first society, it takes a different breed of person to think of helping the guy on the street to earn a better living and live a better life.

By Ernest Eng

Like a beacon amidst Singapore’s skyscrapers, the headquarters of the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) proudly stands in the middle of the Central Business District. Its distinctive U Hallmark is even more pronounced at night as it lights up the city skyline of Singapore.

Since 1961, the NTUC has been actively preserving and promoting the interests of its members via its strong network of 60 unions. Each individual union represent the members collectively in areas such as negotiations with management for better work conditions, better retrenchment packages or the improvement of workplace relations between employees and their employers.

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Working for Workers

The labour force goes to work with peace of mind because they can always count on NTUC to safeguard their interests. Three employees from NTUC share how their work improves the lives of their fellow Singaporeans.

By Everlyn Lee

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is a huge family of 60 trade unions, 12 social enterprises and four related organisations. NTUC’s core operations encompass four main areas: Industrial Relations, Jobs and Training, Programmes and Initiatives, and International Relations. Sanjeev, Justin and Billie Anne share how working in each of these operations entails different responsibilities but contribute to the same cause – ensuring the well-being of the Singapore labour force.

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A Home Away From Home

Few employees can take pleasure in calling their office a home away from home. At NTUC, you can.

By Nabilah Husna A. Rahman

The air of hospitality at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is uncommon to such a large organisation. But NTUC is not like every other organisation – it upholds a people-oriented and homely environment for both its staff and members.

While the general public may associate NTUC with its more well-known fronts – namely, NTUC Income and NTUC FairPrice – the non-profit organisation also provides a variety of services for its members in the workforce. This includes offering assistance to members who bring issues like workplace disputes to the attention of the congress.

The Industrial Relations Department, in which Sharon Lim plays her role as an Industrial Relations Officer, deals with such matters.

“My work is somehow unpredictable. You won’t always know the entire background of the members’ issue, but you need to almost immediately give them advice,” the former Hospitality Management student says. “It’s very impromptu – so training in this aspect is very important.”

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NTUC: Champion Fighters

Fighting for the workers’ cause – that’s all in a day’s work for Chia Ling and Valerie, both of whom are employees at NTUC.

By Tang Pin-Ji

To the uninitiated, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is a huge family made up of 60 trade unions, six taxi associations, and 12 Social Enterprises. The core of the organisation’s business, however, lies in industrial relations – representing employees and being their voice in negotiating for better employment terms and benefits with their respective organisations.

A better life for others
Koh Chia Ling is a Principal Industrial Relations Officer with the United Workers of Electronic and Electrical Industries (UWEEI), which represents workers in that particular manufacturing sector. She elaborates, “Our role is to help workers to have more equitable benefits together with the management. We represent the workers in terms of bonuses and increments, grievance cases, collective agreement – which is the document that governs their terms and benefits – and also retrenchment, as well as any other areas relating to employment.”

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NTUC - For a Rewarding Career

“Make yourself necessary to somebody,” said poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). And this is so true for two employees of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), both of whom enjoy a rewarding career as they reach out to workers and help them attain a better life.

By Ruth Wong

“Before joining NTUC, I thought it was a place with lots of politics and bureaucracy. But since working here, I realise it’s an organisation with lots of passion for the workers!” says Christine Neo, 26, an Employability Coach with the Employability Enhancement Department. She has been with NTUC for five years now...

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