Dairy Farm Singapore and union to collaborate on job transformation and training for over 5,000 workers

(From left) Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union general secretary Tan Hock Soon, NTUC Deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How and Dairy Farm Singapore South-east Asia chief executive Sam Kim at the signing of the partnership agreement on Oct 17, 2019. PHOTO: DAIRY FARM SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - 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) on Thursday (Oct 17).

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

As part of the project, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities will also study how work in Dairy Farm can be changed to benefit both workers and the organisation.

Specifically, it will look at how to help workers transition into new job tasks, and how the company 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 the group is the first retailer to start a jobs transformation project with a union.

"The retail environment is evolving rapidly, driven by advancements in technology and changes in 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 company 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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