NTUC honours 29 organisations with May Day Awards

Employees of Copthorne King's Hotel, which was awarded the Plaque of Commendation. PHOTO: COPTHORNE KING'S HOTEL

SINGAPORE - Cleaning staff at Copthorne King's Hotel used to take about two hours to clean and polish the glass panels at the hotel's lobby.

This task now takes about 20 minutes, after the hotel replaced the panels with nano-treated glass which can be cleaned with just water.

This is part of the hotel's efforts to make its employees' work easier and safer - thereby improving productivity and efficiency - which has led to it being recognised by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in this year's May Day Awards.

A total of 29 organisations were awarded for their contributions in advancing workers' wages, welfare and work prospects, NTUC announced on Saturday (May 16).

The awards are conferred on organisations and individuals who have made significant contributions in improving workers' lives and livelihoods.

Copthorne King's Hotel is one of 18 organisations which received the Plaque of Commendation award this year. This is the first time the hotel has received the award.

The National Environment Agency and GE Repair Solutions Singapore, which maintains power turbines, each took home top honours - the Plaque of Commendation (Gold).

This award is given to organisations which, after previously receiving the Plaque of Commendation award, had "consistently made significant contributions" in supporting the labour movement's initiatives.

Nine organisations received the Partner of Labour Movement award for their significant contributions through collaborations, projects or initiatives "of national impact".

More award recipients will be announced later this month, NTUC said.

In conferring the award to Copthorne King's Hotel, NTUC noted that the hotel utilised technologies such as visitor management systems to reduce the need for repetitive tasks for housekeeping and front-office staff.

The hotel also merged its security and bell departments and cross-trained employees in both areas.

The hotel has also been actively engaging its older workers and looking for ways to improve their efficiency and safety at work. More than 20 per cent of the hotel's employees are aged 55 years old and above.

This includes replacing the panels at the hotel's lobby and the shower screens in each guest room with nano-treated glass, which allows for easier cleaning, said Mr Kung Teong Wah, general manager of Copthorne King's Hotel, in a video interview on Saturday.

"By spending a few thousand dollars, we enable our mature workers to continue working with a lighter job and be more productive," he said.

Another first-time recipient of the Plaque of Commendation is cleaning company Chye Thiam Maintenance (CTM).

The company allocated an entire level of its multi-storey headquarters in Tampines as a rest area for its workers, complete with exercise and entertainment facilities, NTUC said.

Employees of Chye Thiam Maintenance, which was awarded the Plaque of Commendation. PHOTO: CHYE THIAM MAINTENANCE PTE LTD

CTM is also the first cleaning company to set up a Company Training Committee (CTC), which identifies training needs for workers and designs training programmes to equip employees with the skills needed.

NTUC commended the company for constantly innovating and investing in technology and infrastructure to introduce new services, including making plans for its truck drivers to attend virtual reality simulated safety training.

CTM has followed the Progressive Wage Model for its workers, and has often been willing to pay above what is mandated to attract and secure talent, NTUC added.

The company has also been engaged with its employees on the ground and strives to ensure that any feedback is addressed on a timely basis, said Mr Frankie Yung, CTM's deputy director for human resource and administration.

"Engagement in CTM is one of the key pillars in terms of attracting and maintaining talent," he said.

With business affected by the Covid-19 crisis, both Copthorne King's Hotel and CTM have implemented measures to protect jobs and wages.

Among other things, Copthorne King's Hotel has sent its employees for upskilling and encouraged them to take on second jobs during this lull period, Mr Kung said.

He said that the hotel's focus is preparing the business and workforce for recovery, when the economy picks up again.

CTM has introduced a hotline to address any concerns its workers might have during this Covid-19 period, Mr Yung said.

Staff are also receiving training via its own online programmes in line with its CTC, and the company plans to conduct practical in-person training sessions for them.

"We are equipping them with new skills and knowledge, so as to prepare them when the rebound takes place," he said.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said that while this year's May Day has been "unlike any other", NTUC's commitment to workers remains unchanged.

"In the spirit of May Day, we want to honour our May Day Awards 2020 institutional awardees who share the same commitment as us and place the improvement of our workers' wages, welfare and work prospects as their priorities as well," he added.

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