Workers must be at the heart of policy-making: NTUC chief

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

It is crucial that workers are at the heart of policy-making even as the Government continues to partner the labour movement in its efforts to support workers, labour chief Ng Chee Meng said yesterday.

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 adapt to changes in the global and regional environment, pursuing Industry 4.0 standards of automation, 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, Mr Ng said.

 
 

As for workers, they must embrace change and lifelong 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 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 of and relevant to workers by reinventing its core capabilities, membership base and social enterprises.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2019, with the headline 'Workers must be at the heart of policy-making: NTUC chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe