Workers must be at the heart of policymaking: Ng Chee Meng

Employers must invest in training their workers in order to seize the competitive edge while workers must embrace change and life-long learning.
Employers must invest in training their workers in order to seize the competitive edge while workers must embrace change and life-long learning.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Government will continue to partner the labour movement in its efforts to support workers, but it is crucial that workers are at the heart of policymaking, labour chief Ng Chee Meng said on Wednesday (July 31).

This is so that when Singapore succeeds, Singaporeans can share in that success, said the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general.

In a National Day message to workers ahead of Aug 9, Mr Ng said that strong fundamentals as well as tripartite cooperation between the Government, employers and unions have put Singapore in good stead to face global uncertainties and technological disruption.

But everyone "must play our part to overcome challenges and seize new opportunities", he said.

Employers must transform and adapt to changes in the global and regional environment, pursuing Industry 4.0 standards of automation for their businesses, said Mr Ng, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

They must also invest in training their workers in order to seize the competitive edge, and when they do well, they must also ensure gains are shared with workers, he said.

As for workers, they must embrace change and life-long learning.

 
 
 

"Instead of viewing technological changes with fear, you must take the first step to be prepared for new jobs, stay relevant with new skills and be resilient by adapting to new ways of working and learning," he said.

He suggested learning more about the digital economy. Resources such as SkillsFuture Credit and the $250 yearly Union Training Assistance Programme credits for NTUC union members can defray the cost of training.

He pledged that the labour movement will help workers tackle the challenges that lie ahead, and will stay representative and relevant to workers by reinventing its core capabilities, membership base and social enterprises.

"Just as we have weathered the crises in 1997, 2001, and 2008, we will do so again if the economy takes a downturn," he said.

"Workers have put their trust in us, and we will continue to put them at the heart of everything we do because every worker matters."