Dairy Farm pairs up with union to help staff adapt amid disruption

Retailer Dairy Farm Singapore will work with a union to help more than 5,000 workers here adapt to jobs that are being transformed by technology.

Dairy Farm, which owns the Cold Storage, Giant, 7-Eleven and Guardian brands, among others, set up a jobs, skills and training committee together with the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) yesterday.

The union said the effort will cover all of Dairy Farm's staff here, with a special focus on those in retail outlets and warehouse operations, as these positions are more susceptible to digital disruption.

As part of the project, the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will study how to help workers transition into new job tasks, and how Dairy Farm can respond to disruption while instilling confidence and commitment in its staff. Workers will then be able to attend training and development programmes identified by SUTD Academy.

Dairy Farm Group's chief executive for South-east Asia, Mr Sam Kim, said in a statement that the move comes as the retail environment is evolving rapidly, driven by changes in technology and consumer behaviour.

"As a consequence, the way we all work will also have to evolve, so the findings from this study will be of great value as we continue to look into how we can better address the needs of our team members, and how we can best equip them with the skills to succeed in a changing world," he said.

FDAWU general secretary Tan Hock Soon said the collaboration will allow the firm and the union to jointly assure workers that "so long as they are willing to retrain and upskill, efforts will be made to ensure that no one is left behind".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2019, with the headline Dairy Farm pairs up with union to help staff adapt amid disruption. Subscribe