Union canteens to serve up healthier fare for public transport workers

All 46 National Transport Workers' Union canteens will have the healthier meals, which include brown rice, assessed by the Health Promotion Board.
All 46 National Transport Workers' Union canteens will have the healthier meals, which include brown rice, assessed by the Health Promotion Board.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Healthier meal options will be served at all 46 National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) canteens from February.

The union will also embark on the second round of a campaign to encourage public transport staff to opt for meals with brown rice.

"We are mindful that many of our public transport workers are above the age of 50 and we need to do more to ensure they take good care of their health," said NTWU executive secretary Melvin Yong.

The union's canteens, which serve more than 25,000 workers, will have the healthier meals assessed by the Health Promotion Board (HPB). Six canteens have been assessed so far.

Mr Yong said: "HPB's endorsement will help workers and the public better identify the healthier meal options and make informed food choices."

The new initiative was announced at Ulu Pandan Bus Depot yesterday.

The union, which started a Brown Rice Campaign in March, said it will organise a second round from this month with a $100,000 sponsorship from SBS Transit.

 
 
 

Part of the campaign involves rewarding SBS Transit staff with food vouchers if they choose brown rice meals. Each meal purchase entitles an employee to a stamp on a rewards card. A $2.80 food voucher is given for every five stamps collected.

They will also get vouchers if they attend health coaching sessions organised by SBS Transit and the HPB. SBS Transit has about 10,500 staff.

"Bus captains and bus support staff spend hours on the job," said SBS Transit chief executive Gan Juay Kiat.

"We feel that we need to provide a conducive environment for them to practise healthy living, so that they can progressively form better lifelong habits for a healthier way of living."

Bus driver Jameson Goh, 34, said his job is quite sedentary. "We sit a lot on the job. It is sort of like eat, and then sit.

"I attended a health screening offered by the company, and, under the programme, started to exercise and watch my food intake."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2018, with the headline 'Union canteens to serve up healthier fare for public transport workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe