Labour movement to expand services to PMEs

Office workers in the central business district (CBD).
Office workers in the central business district (CBD). PHOTO: ST FILE

The labour movement will expand its services to professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) in a move to draw more white-collar workers into its ranks, said its leaders yesterday in a combined May Day message.

National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Chan Chun Sing and president Mary Liew said this would necessitate an increased focus on career guidance, training, networking and job placement.

NTUC will expand these services to cater to young workers seeking their first jobs, those who make mid-career switches, and older workers looking to extend their career lifespans.

The joint message said: "We must also work with more partners to widen the training options for our workers to maintain and improve their market currency."

Older workers and PMEs continue to be hardest hit as layoffs increase. Among the 9,090 residents who lost their jobs last year, out of a resident labour force of 2,232,300, 65 per cent were aged 40 and above, and 71 per cent were professionals, managers, executives and technicians.

NTUC will expand these services to cater to young workers seeking their first jobs, those who make mid-career switches, and older workers looking to extend their career lifespans.

The May Day message highlighted the trying economic situation, with Singapore experiencing its weakest annual growth since 2009, in the midst of structural shifts such as shorter product life cycles and ever faster technological changes.

NTUC will continue to provide traditional services such as protection and representation for rank-and-file workers.

It will keep building on services for workers and their families through NTUC Social Enterprises, which cover areas such as healthcare, eldercare and childcare.

The movement is also planning to strengthen its network of unions, guilds and partners through programmes such as U Associate and U SME (small and medium-sized enterprises).

Said Mr Chan and Ms Liew: "Our associates and partners find value in leveraging our network - interacting with fellow associates and unions, cross-pollinating ideas, sharing best practices and more.

"These efforts must and will continue as we strive to reach out, advocate for and represent workers in every sector of our economy."

Olivia Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2016, with the headline 'Services to PMEs will be expanded'. Print Edition | Subscribe