SINGAPORE - In an effort to grow its engagement with professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), the labour movement has launched a $3 million grant to help professional associations expand their membership bases.
The U Associate Grant, which will be disbursed over three years, will also support PMEs in training and employability enhancement, said the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on Wednesday.
"We will see more and more PMEs in our workforce and more and more PMEs facing the challenges of employment and employability," said NTUC secretary-general Lim Swee Say at the start of a two-day leadership conference.
"The tripartite framework is effective, but it's incomplete in looking after the interests of PMEs," he told the audience of over 500 PMEs.
He outlined three goals for the movement: helping young PMEs start their careers on a good footing, helping working PMEs ensure they receive fair treatment, and ensuring older PMEs do not face age discrimination as they move from job to job.
Representing rank-and-file workers has been the labour movement's core focus, but it is reaching out to more PMEs to grow its "second wing" through the U Associate Programme, which was launched in 2011.
An estimated one in five PMEs in the resident labour force, or 285,000 people, are currently members of the labour movement, and it aims to represent one in four eventually.
As it pushes on towards its goal of having one million members, Mr Lim stressed that "growth is not a numbers game, the quality of this membership gain is important".
Two new associations joined NTUC as partners at Wednesday's event at the NTUC Centre, bringing the total number to 12. The Financial Planning Association of Singapore and the Singapore Chapter of the global Project Management Institute signed separate memorandum of understanding agreements with NTUC.