Did you know that retrenchment numbers are expected to increase and that workers are feeling anxious? This one is NTUC say one lah, according to their annual survey.
During a joint media session on 6 February 2024, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) talked about the economy and job market for the year ahead and their hopes for Budget 2024.
Alamak, retrenchment numbers are expected to increase in 2024
NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng says that retrenchment numbers as seen from 2023 and projected into 2024 appear to be increasing. According to the labour chief, NTUC is already starting to see signs like doubling retrenchment figures and stagnating or declining wage growth. This also because the unions have been walking the ground, to understand the sentiments.
In addition, job insecurity among workers are even more jialat now. According to NTUC’s annual survey on economic sentiments, nearly 40 percent of the 2,000 respondents feel like they will kena sack within the three months. In comparison to 2023, only 25 percent were feeling this way. The difference besar gila tau.
President of SNEF, Dr Robert Yap also said that although some companies are facing challenges, for companies, retrenchment can be good to shake up industries, in turn making them more productive.
Nevertheless, workers anxieties are legit lah, and SNEF encouraged employers to consult tripartite partners proactively to see how to address concerns of displaced workers. Don’t just anyhow retrench workers without consulting the union (ahem, Lazada).
Ahead of Budget 2024, NTUC reiterates their calls for greater support for displaced workers and caregivers
The Government has indicated that details of the long-discussed re-employment scheme will be in the Budget (woohoo!). Unemployment support has also long been called for by NTUC’s Assistant Secretary-General Mr Patrick Tay.
Labour Chief Ng Chee Meng also hopes to partner the government in getting more employers to adopt flexible work arrangements, and to encourage more caregivers to return to work.
More specifically, NTUC is calling on more companies to introduce paid caregiving leave – a recommendation that was first made last September after their year-long engagement, the #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations with workers.
“NTUC will continue to ask for caregivers’ leave, especially for companies that are doing well and organisations that are able to do so, to afford a space for caregivers to have the ability to make a living… while also (juggling) their family responsibilities,” said Ng.
He added that currently ah, about 20 percent of businesses have introduced caregiving leave in one form or another lah, and they hope to increase this number.
Finally, he also said that the Government should consider top-ups to the SkillsFuture Credit to better support workers to upskill, especially the mid-career workers!
NTUC is already doing so much for workers lah, beyond Budget 2024
But NTUC not just lepak one corner, they are already helping workers. There are programmes and initiatives already out there, to give skills and resources to help workers stay employable.
For example, over 1,700 Company Training Committees (CTC) have been formed as of 31 October 2023, impacting over 123,000 workers.
Most recently, the Food, Drinks & Allied Workers Union (FDAWU), an affiliated union under NTUC managed to negotiate with Lazada for an enhanced retrenchment package for affected union members at their latest retrenchment exercise.
Steady ah NTUC!