The provision of proper rest areas for outsourced workers and a new training programme to help food delivery riders switch from e-scooters to e-bicycles might not appear, to some, to be great strides taken by the labour movement here. But they are. They attest to the felt need to look after the interests of workers at the more vulnerable ends of the economy. These include outplaced workers and those in the gig economy. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has intervened meaningfully in both cases. It was not uncommon for some workers to use bin centres, pool pump rooms and carparks as rest areas.
Now, security officers and cleaners will benefit from the attention that has been drawn to the need for proper rest areas that respect their privacy and uphold their dignity. For example, for a security officer to doze in a guardroom during his rest hour - even though his colleague is on duty - might cause visitors to believe that he is lazing on the job. Cleaners, on the other hand, depend on where they are located. Those at newer commercial buildings had good rest areas but cleaners at older areas need more support from employers.