More than 32,000 workers matched to new jobs by NTUC's Job Security Council

This means that about 4,000 workers have been matched with jobs since the start of this year.
This means that about 4,000 workers have been matched with jobs since the start of this year.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - More than 32,000 workers have secured new jobs with the help of the Job Security Council of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to date, labour chief Ng Chee Meng said on Thursday (Aug 5).

This means that about 4,000 workers have been matched with jobs since the start of this year, when Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat last gave an update on the scheme.

The council, set up in February last year, helps displaced workers or those at risk of losing their jobs move to new roles or secure temporary secondments. The bulk of these workers were placed in new jobs last year, at the height of the pandemic.

More than 10,000 companies now form part of the council's network, up from just 4,000 when it started.

In a National Day message, Mr Ng highlighted three groups of workers who are "still reeling from the prolonged effects of the pandemic" and need extra help.

These are lower-wage workers, freelancers and PMEs - professionals, managers and executives.

For lower-wage workers, NTUC is working to speed up the expansion of the progressive wage model so that wages, welfare and work prospects can improve, he said.

He also highlighted the efforts of the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers, adding that he looks forward to its recommendations. The group has said it is considering all possibilities - including complementing the progressive wage model with a minimum wage - as long as such measures do not hurt workers in the long term.

Mr Ng also said the NTUC hopes to formally represent freelancers and continues to lobby for them.

"We recognise the need to ensure a fairer bargaining relationship between you and the service buyer," he added, directly addressing freelancers, and noting that NTUC-affiliated associations will continue to collectively champion their needs, such as income security and skills mastery.

On the topic of PMEs, the labour chief said the task force jointly set up by NTUC and the Singapore National Employers Federation will share its recommendations within the year.

NTUC has also called on the Government to strengthen the Singaporean core, with the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness formed as a result. This committee will complement the work of the task force.

Mr Ng noted that Singapore has made good overall progress in the fight against Covid-19, with its economy expected to grow between 4 and 6 per cent this year.

"Our resident unemployment and retrenchment rates have improved and are far from the severe peaks of last year," he added. "Our workers, including PMEs, can keep their jobs and, if impacted, are better able to find and keep good jobs."

He also stressed the importance of vaccination, saying: "NTUC will continue to support vaccination at the workplace to best protect workers' health and ensure business continuity."