WP wants to see Singaporean workers at centre of economy

The Workers' Party (WP) said in its May Day message that it "wants to see the Singaporean worker at the centre of today's and tomorrow's economy" and will make this its agenda in Parliament.

It called on the Government to put Singaporean workers at the centre of the industry transformation maps (ITMs), which are being rolled out in 23 industries that make up 80 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product. The training, placement and hiring of Singaporeans should be central to this signature policy development, it said.

A statement posted on its website yesterday said: "With retraining and skills upgrading a national mantra since the late 1970s, the dominance of Singaporeans for the jobs of today and tomorrow must rank as an important collateral objective of the ITMs."

But it lamented that "yesterday's issues" remain, citing discrimination against Singaporean workers by some companies.

Noting the increase in "triple weak" companies - which hire more foreigners, have no plans to hire more Singaporeans, and contribute little to the economy - the WP said such practices "damage our national solidarity and weaken commitment to Singapore".

The Singapore People's Party also alluded to the issue in its message, which saluted workers like a waitress who worries she would lose her job to foreigners. Workers are the "unsung heroes of our country which keep our economy moving".

Meanwhile, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics, or Home, urged the Government, employers and trade unions to give greater recognition to the rights of low-wage migrant workers. It wants migrant workers like those in construction to get minimum wages, saying the Bangladeshis are paid half of what similar workers from China receive, "with no viable explanation for these wage differences".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2018, with the headline 'WP wants to see Singaporean workers at centre of economy'. Print Edition | Subscribe