Labour Chief’s National Day Message 2021: Supporting and protecting Workers Through COVID-19

Labour Chief’s National Day Message 2021: Supporting and protecting Workers Through COVID-19

It’s National Day again!

Like every other year, NTUC’s Labour Chief delivered his National Day message on 5 August 2021.

In his National Day message, the Labour Chief said that while the turn of events in our COVID-19 fight in the past few weeks has understandably dampened our mood and hopes for a quicker recovery, however, the fight against COVID-19 is making good progress and we have much to celebrate, nonetheless.

Singapore’s economy is expected to grow by 4% to 6%

“There are bright spots in our economic recovery and we are tracking an upward trajectory,” said the Labour Chief, noting that Singapore’s economy is expected to grow by 4% to 6% this year.

As compared to the severe peaks of last year, our resident unemployment and retrenchment rates have improved, he mentioned.

Successfully placed over 32,000 workers in jobs

The labour chief also highlighted that the NTUC Job Security Council (JSC), an initiative of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to match displaced or retrenched workers into new jobs, has successfully placed over 32,000 workers in jobs since it was formed in February 2020.

He credited this success to the tripartite partners’ close and continued collaboration over the past year.

Making progress in our vaccination programme

Lastly, the labour chief pointed out that the national vaccination drive “is progressing well and steadily” and hence it is also worth celebrating.

Emphasising that vaccination is critical to protect our workers in their daily work where many interactions are unavoidable, he added that NTUC will continue to support vaccination at the workplace to best protect workers’ health and ensure business continuity.

Efforts to uplift lower-wage workers and to better represent freelancers and PMEs

Additionally, Ng also highlighted NTUC’s efforts to uplift lower-wage workers and to better represent freelancers and Professionals, Managers, and Executives (PMEs).

For the lower-wage workers, Ng said that NTUC will continue to push hard to expand the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) so as to benefit more workers quickly for them to enjoy better wages, welfare, and work prospects.

The labour chief also gave his assurance in this National Day message that the NTUC will continue to “lobby hard” for the freelancers.

“We want to be able to formally represent you, to afford you better protection. We recognise the need to ensure a fairer bargaining relationship between you and the service buyer,” he said.

Recognising the need for a fairer bargaining relationship between freelancers and the service buyers, Ng said that the NTUC-affiliated associations will continue to work to collectively champion the freelancers’ needs, as well as support the freelancers’ income security, skills mastery, work prospects, and health.

And finally, for the PMEs, Ng said that NTUC wants to better support PMEs at their workplace and careers.

Thanking the more than 9,000 PMEs who have given valuable feedback to the NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce, Ng shared that the taskforce is firming up its recommendations for sharing later this year.

He also shared that the Government has heeded the Labour Movement’s call to better safeguard the Singaporean core and has recently announced the formation of the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness. This committee will complement the efforts of the NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce.

Upholding the Singapore Spirit

The labour chief then concluded his message reminding Singaporeans that National Day is a time to celebrate Singapore and Singaporeans and that Singaporeans have shown unity, resilience and adaptability in weathering the “unprecedented storm”.

Calling for all Singaporeans to continue to care for each other, steady our resolve, and adapt to thrive in an endemic COVID-19 world in our true Singapore spirit, he concluded:

“Let us continue to build a vibrant Singapore that is competitive, sustainable and inclusive.

Let us also look ahead with renewed hope this National Day and forge a better future together.

Happy National Day!”

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