While most of us are enjoying the long weekend, getting all dressed up, collecting ang baos, eating yummy food and ramped up with excitement for our Lunar New Year (LNY) celebrations, our public transport workers continue to work over the festive period to keep our transportation system running just so the rest of us can commute to the homes of our loved ones.
Every year, leaders from Singapore’s labour movement will visit workers who provide essential services during the LNY period.
This year, Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong with NTUC President Mary Liew, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng and National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) union leaders visited public transport workers, including bus captains and administrative staff at the Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub (WITH) bus interchange this morning.
The visit was organised by NTUC and NTWU, and hosted by SMRT Corporation Ltd, an unionised company under NTWU.
LNY goodie bags given out to show appreciation
In the spirit of the festive season, LNY gift bags packed with red packets, mandarin oranges, a carrier pouch, chips, and disposable face masks were distributed to the public transport workers at WITH.
NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng said, “Today’s visit expresses our appreciation for the essential transport services they provide even during the LNY festive period.”
Bus Captains y’all the true MVP!
Back then during the pandemic, our bus captains continue to ply the road every day to ensure the public transport system continues to function efficiently. When there was a surge in infections, many of our bus captains very onz! They put in longer working hours or even work on their rest days!
They were able to do so because NTWU worked closely with LTA and Public Transport Operators (PTOs) to ensure the safety of public transport workers throughout their daily course of work including introducing measures such as enhanced cleaning of interchanges and buses, regular daily temperature taking and routine testing as well as dedicated rest areas for bus transport workers. Their physical and mental well-being was also looked into.
Mr Ng said, “Our public transport workers have worked tirelessly through the pandemic period and shown exemplary conduct in observing good hygiene practices to protect the public and keep Singapore moving, despite the uncertainties that COVID-19 brought about.”
Public Transport Workers are future-ready
As public transport is an essential service for our economy and communities, it is vital to develop a Strong Singaporean Core amongst our public transport workforce.
Since 2012, NTUC worked with industry stakeholders and tripartite partners to introduce a progressive wage structure for the Transport & Logistics Services Cluster, covering bus captains among the worker groups.
Mr Ng said, “We will continue to champion their interest just as we have done over the last decade. In the way of NTUC moving the wages, I’m happy that the bus drivers now earn maybe even up to 50 per cent more than what they did 10 years ago.”
Now close to 10,000 public transport workers from the four PTOs in Singapore have benefitted where the average starting basic salary is now $2,150 as compared to $1,375 prior to 2012.
Don’t worry, Singapore should be able to avoid this recession
In his doorstop interview, PM Lee said “If you look around the world, (there are) so many dark clouds outside us, around us, and we need to distinguish ourselves and make the most of our advantages to keep ourselves safe.”
“I think this year, the Year of the Rabbit, I have every confidence we will be able to do that.”
“On our end, we have to be prepared for all possibilities and do our best,” Mr Lee added.
Kudos to all transport workers for making our celebration a smooth one. We appreciate all your hard work and may everyone have a great year ahead! Huat Ah!