Goals of employers, unions, Government different, but not mutually exclusive: President Halimah

Good jobs performed by motivated and productive workers will ensure viable businesses. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Employers want to remain profitable, unions want their members to earn decent wages under fair working conditions and the Government wants to attract investments to create jobs.

These goals are not mutually exclusive but it is not easy to maintain the equilibrium, President Halimah Yacob said on Saturday (May 1).

"Good jobs performed by motivated and productive workers will ensure viable businesses," she said in a Facebook post.

"It's not easy to maintain this equilibrium. It requires all three players to invest time and effort to ensure that the system works. It also requires mutual respect to build trust and confidence."

Many tripartite groups from other countries have visited Singapore, but have not been able to achieve the same results, said President Halimah.

Today, many things in Singapore are taken for granted, including its "peaceful and stable industrial relations".

"It was not always like this," she said, adding that Singapore experienced tumultuous labour-management relations in the early days of independence.

"Short-sighted employers focused more on profits than the welfare of workers, weak labour laws and politically motivated unions, some infiltrated by communists too, contributed to the chaotic situation and severe disruptions," she said.

But after changes were made to labour laws to ensure that workers were protected, disputes between workers and employers were resolved more effectively through collective bargaining between parties.

The decision of having employers, workers and the Government working together was also important in bringing about harmonious industrial relations, said President Halimah.

Noting that there are new challenges ahead, she added: "We need all hands on board to ensure that our children and grandchildren will inherit a fair, sustainable and prosperous society, that we can all be proud of."

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