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Labour Movement Annual
Cheaper Better Faster economy and a more
inclusive workforce
In a post-recession global economy, Singapore faces
competition from cheaper countries that are getting better,
and better countries that are getting cheaper. To compete,
we have to be a Cheaper Better Faster economy.
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Cheaper Better Faster economy
Cheaper Better Faster economy
Ultimately, CBF is about finding and breaking
productivity bottlenecks and sharing the gains
with workers.
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Labour Movement Annual
‘Lean’ power to keep
charging ahead
Total Productivity has increased 100 per cent at Energizer Singapore in the past ten
years. Today, an employee is able to produce two million pieces of batteries per year,
up from one million in the late 1990s. Moving forward, the company hopes to see a
growth of 3 to 5 per cent in volume per employee per year.
n the past, five employees (four
skilled, one semi-skilled) were needed
to run four lines in a cluttered work
environment for alkaline batteries at
Energizer Singapore Private Limited.
In 2009, the company decided to put
in place a new lean system to make it
more productive.
“With this lean transformation, the
previously semi-skilled worker has learnt
more new skills to take up the role of
a ‘water spider’, who multi-tasks by
supplying materials to all the production
lines efficiently to enable the smooth
functioning of the production lines. Now,
only two skilled operators are needed to
man the four lines. The other two skilled
workers can now be deployed to other
job roles. Productivity has improved
significantly with a more efficient allocation
of manpower resources,” said Mr
Mohamed Yusoff Mohamed Kassim, 51,
tier leader of the alkaline production lines.
CBF does not mean
downsizing but doing more
with the same.
Mr Mohamed Yusoff Mohamed Kassim (extreme right) with colleagues.
These productivity enhancements, which
enable waste reduction and increase useful
output, were made possible when the company
started gearing towards lean manufacturing. It is a
production practice that focuses on identification
and elimination of waste and non-value-adding
CBF is about reducing wasteful
input and increasing useful output.
Said the company’s Director for Manufacturing
Toh Ming Hon, “We have employed lean
manufacturing culture in this pilot project that will
reduce labour hours and improve productivity
significantly. We expect to save man hours and
commit to spend these hours enhancing the
capabilities of employees in these production
lines by providing them with enhanced training
“With this people development strategy, we
will be able to ride further on the productivity
momentum when the economic situation becomes
more positive in the future. This is an investment
for the future.”
The company has also extended this lean
culture to the commercial aspects of the business,
for example, support functions such as Finance,
Human Resource and Information Technology.
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Tapping on this system as a business enabler, the
company was able to improve payroll preparation
and processing, thereby reducing work steps by
over 40 per cent and waiting time by 90 per cent.
Payroll accuracy has also increased by 50 per
cent. With these combined improvements, total
productivity improved by 100 per cent over ten
CBF is not about labour
productivity alone, but Total
Energizer Singapore’s drive for productivity
played a key role in it being selected from among
Energizer’s numerous global plants to be the
second site for the manufacturing of lithium
batteries, the world’s longest-lasting batteries in
high-tech devices.
In 2009, the company initiated production
of Energizer primary lithium batteries. Currently,
this makes up less than 10 per cent of Energizer
Singapore’s overall production. The company has
plans to increase its production up to 20 to 30 per
cent of the overall production. At the same time,
it will be expanding the manufacturing capacity of
alkaline batteries.
Going forward, the company intends to make
continuous total productivity improvement a way of
life. It aims to achieve total productivity growth of 3
to 5 per cent per employee per year.
From left: Mr Toh Ming Hon and Mr
Mohamed Yusoff Mohamed Kassim
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Cheaper Better Faster economy
Developing people towards
a common goal
Labour Productivity grew 26 per cent over the past three years at Tetra Pak Jurong
(TPJ). It has a workforce that thrives on challenges and is willing to take on difficult
and niche jobs to produce more without compromising quality. The workers are
confident of their skills, and management provides clear direction and incentives
which help workers share in their ambition of being the best.
When your goals are my goals
bout three years ago, producing a billion
carton packages a month was a pipe
dream for Tetra Pak Jurong. In 2007,
production averaged at about 750 million
per month. TPJ had never been able to cross the
1 billion mark in its 28-year history in Singapore. So,
top management decided to get workers to share in
their ambition to achieve a breakthrough.
The result of empowering workers, a key aspect
of the concept of World Class Manufacturing (WCM)
used in Tetra Pak factories worldwide to improve
productivity, has been excellent for TPJ. It now
routinely produces more than 1 billion packs per
month. In March 2010, the company achieved a
major breakthrough, producing an unprecedented
1.3 billion carton packages for the Southeast Asia
market. This kind of output makes this Singapore
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factory a star performer and the biggest producer
for the Swedish multinational company with a
presence in more than 170 countries across five
What’s even more noteworthy is that they
achieved this growth with only marginally more
labour than they used to have in 2007. The company
had 297 workers in 2007 compared to the current
314. Labour productivity grew by 26 per cent from
2007 to 2009.
Changing mindsets, getting
everyone on board
“We have a good reputation for being able to
handle complex and niche jobs. When we tell
our customers that we may need to move their
orders elsewhere, they say ‘no way’. They want the
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Labour Movement Annual
From left: Mr P. Munusamy,
Mr Alberto Tureikis and
Mr Lim Kee Oon
Singapore plant to produce their orders because
we have a skilled workforce here,” said Mr Alberto
Tureikis, Cluster South & Southeast Asia Supply
Chain Leader and head of TPJ. He is also the
champion of WCM concepts having applied them
in Europe and South America, where he worked
before he came to Singapore four years ago.
“When I first came here, I found the level of
initiative lower than in Western countries. The
workers were expecting directions and I felt
we could not produce results without changing
this mindset. But with the right incentives, clear
directions and support, we have got a workforce
that has really taken to the idea and we’re getting
more from them,” he added.
Besides incentive schemes, TPJ is also a
firm believer in people development. In 2009, all
TPJ staff across the ranks was sent in batches
for training in the areas of Personal and People
Mastery. These training sessions culminated in a
mass team-building event for the entire factory at a
resort in Bintan.
Mr Yves Zerbib, Cluster South & Southeast
Asia Human Resource Leader at TPJ, added, “With
our rate of growth, we could not afford to waste
time. Everyone has to take charge of the process
and lead. Our main push was to make our workers
feel empowered and we are 100 per cent assured
that it’s paying off.”
Master Technician Liow Yian Siang is an
example. He says he knows the machine he works
with almost like as if it was an extension of his
body. “I don’t have to wait for management to tell
me when to repair it and when to maintain it. I own
the machine,” he said. Fellow Master Technicians
Goh Chye Peng and Lim Kee Oon also agreed and
said they are able to motivate their teams.
From left: Mr P. Munusamy, Mr Alberto Tureikis, Mr Yves Zerbib and Mr Liow Yian Siang.
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“Last year, I was able to share the $1,000 worth
of prizes for the best suggestion award with my
team. We helped the company save and that was
our reward,” said Mr Goh.
CBF is about making every worker
Pioneering innovative solutions
One of the ideas that came from rank-and-file
workers was to produce more than one design for
carton packages on one jumbo roll of paper. This
was possible through the creative use of paper,
much like the way a skilled tailor would be able
to get more out of the same cloth. Known as coprinting, this process reduces the need to stop and
set-up, and also results in the optimal use of paper.
Master Technician Liow is among those who have
the skills for this.
CBF is about working smarter.
Another improvement was also made through
re-using the plastic laminates that used to be
thrown away from the laminating machines. Now
the polyethylene trim re-use results in $1 million
savings for the company each year. Both coprinting and this method of re-use was pioneered
by the workers in Singapore and are now used
CBF is about reducing wasteful
input and increasing useful output.
Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’ Union
member Lim Kee Oon who has been with the
company for 28 years says empowerment has
made workers happier and more creative too. “We
are doing new things with the best machines,” he
To help workers share in the company’s
goals, TPJ has also been active in encouraging
a “bottoms-up approach” with recognition in the
form of the TPJ STAR (Staff Recognition) Award.
Senior Technician, P. Munusamy was recently
nominated by his peers for the award for his
contributions at work. “Whatever the design, I can
do it,’ said Mr Munusamy, who adds that clients’
requests for unique Tetra Pak packages is a
challenge he always welcomes.
Added Mr Tureikis, “When top management
moves and changes direction too often, the staff
down the line are confused and lost. I think we
have been able to achieve our total productivity
growth of 10.5 per cent per year because we
developed our people and encouraged them to
think of even next year’s goals. If they achieve
next year’s goals this year, the incentive is there for
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Cheaper Better Faster economy
Increasing customer
By doing things differently and customising services, Triumph
triumphed in the downturn and was rated the “Most Preferred
Brand” by 78 per cent of customers.
understanding of customer needs and preferences
based on demographics. For example, they found
that younger customers looked forward to new
experiences and products and this enabled staff to
serve them accordingly.
As part of the CCI journey, staff are trained in
product knowledge so that they can recommend
products relevant to customers’ needs and
preferences. They are also constantly educated on
new product ranges and how it appeals to different
sectors of customers. The recently launched
EcoChic range, for example, features products
made out of organic and eco-friendly material and
are targeted towards environmentally-conscious
Triumph International (Singapore) Director
Doy Teo said, “We have to continuously equip
employees with the soft skills to deal with different
types of customers and not to push them for things
they do not need.”
Store employees go through 83 hours of onthe-job-training consisting of different modules
over six months. They are also assessed and
re-trained to ensure that they retain the skills and
knowledge learnt.
CBF is about making every worker
What about customers who prefer not to be
approached by staff while they shop? Triumph
took that into account and launched touch-screen
browsing boards at its boutique at ION Orchard.
These interactive boards provide comprehensive
information on products available and even
allow customers to browse for the right type of
undergarment based on an outfit they have in
mind. These boards also help to keep customers
occupied should they find themselves having
to wait for a fitting room when the store is more
crowded. This has helped to ensure that customers
are always in the best mood to shop.
CBF is about working smarter and
doing things differently.
Products for everyone
hat do our customers want?” This
question constantly rings in the minds of
the people behind Triumph International
(Singapore) as they strive to better serve
their customers. This, in turn, translates to more
purchases by customers. In this effort, Triumph has
left no stone unturned.
In 2006, Triumph embarked on their CustomerCentric Initiative (CCI) journey which included a
detailed survey on what customers look for in their
shopping experience. They gained a thorough
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Above: Triumph’s touch-screen browsing board.
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Labour Movement Annual
Changing the changing rooms
The fitting rooms are also tailored to increase
customers’ desire for the products. The rooms are
equipped with mood lighting to match different
occasions so that customers can see what their
undergarments look like under lighting similar to a
club, gym, office, bedroom and so on. The whole
experience makes shopping fun and increases the
customers’ propensity to make purchases.
Triumph also saw that customers with spouses
or partners tended to make faster purchase
decisions. Thus, fitting rooms at the Triumph
boutique at ION Orchard also double up as a
couple’s changing room.
Ms Teo explained, “From our experience,
couples nowadays shop together, and in many
cases, the ladies tend to want affirmation from their
husbands or partners as it is an important part of
their emotional relationship. The couple changing
room idea had been an on-going request so we
decided to make it happen.”
Beyond inviting men into fitting rooms, Triumph
also opened its doors to male shoppers with its
“Guys Only Nights”, where the store is exclusively
open to men who can shop for Triumph products
for their wives and partners in privacy. They even
have lingerie workshop available for corporate
groups. In this way, Triumph reached out to a new
customer base.
Better in all ways,
making industry-wide
Such forward-thinking measures quicken
customers in making decisions on purchases,
thus increasing customer productivity. Ms Teo
shared, “Surprisingly, last year was a good year for
us. Despite the downturn, we noticed that not all
customers went for cheap pricing. We also realised
that if we are able to serve customers better, they
will continue to buy our products.”
Surprisingly, last year
was a good year for us.
Despite the downturn,
we noticed that not all
customers went for cheap
pricing. We also realised
that if we are able to serve
the customers better, they
will continue to buy our
Doy Teo (pictured left), Triumph
International (Singapore) Director
The Early Childhood Education (ECE)
industry was once avoided because of
low pay and the lack of professional
recognition and career progression, but
the hurdle was overcome thanks to NTUC
First Campus’ efforts to become better
and faster.
Growing the manpower pool
n May 2009, NTUC First Campus Cooperative Limited raised the salaries of new
and existing teachers, making remuneration in
the Early Childhood Education industry more
competitive. Training allowances increased from
$1,000 to $1,700 for Diploma holders and $1,950
for Degree holders. Once the trainee teachers
complete their course, those with Diplomas will get
a starting pay of $1,850 and those with Degrees
receive renumerations ranging from $2,200 to
$2,500. This is up from the previous $1,600 for
both entry levels. Starting salaries of principals also
increased from $2,400 to $2,700; experienced and
high-calibre professionals can earn up to $4,500.
With these changes, teachers are now encouraged
to stay in the industry, upgrade themselves and
take on higher responsibilities.
“In the past, being a pre-school educator was
not a popular job as it was low-paying and had
no professional recognition. However, things are
different today. With increased salaries, emphasis
on qualifications, and professional experts involved
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Cheaper Better Faster economy
in curriculum planning, the ECE industry has seen
a transformation and pre-school teachers are now
regarded as professionals,” said Ms Sumitra Nair,
Principal of My First Skool at Woodlands Circle.
The ECE industry has made a successful
transformation, but in order to become better,
NTUC First Campus adopted more changes to
further improve its standing. One of it was to attract
more skilled professionals into the industry.
Seeing a growing trend of PMETs
(Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technical
People) being open to a mid-career switch, NTUC
First Campus was fast to respond. Their training
arm, SEED Institute, partnered the Ministry of
Community Development, Youth and Sports and
the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to
offer a ten-month accelerated programme for preschool teachers. The partnership opened doors
for more qualified professionals to enter the ECE
Opening up a land of possibilities
In addition, NTUC First Campus aims to improve
the career path of workers in the ECE industry.
Traditionally, teachers either stay on the teaching
track and climax at the position of Senior Teacher
or move onto the centre leadership track as
principals. Coined as NTUC First Campus’ “Land
of Possibilities”, it is an initiative where ECE
professionals can soon choose from teaching,
leadership and curriculum specialist tracks
and possibly take on management roles in
headquarters, trainer roles at SEED Institute or
stay on the Teaching Track as Mentor Teachers.
It is an exciting vision for all ECE professionals as
NTUC First Campus transforms them into a highly
engaged, self motivated and productive workforce
by empowering them with options to fulfill their
career aspirations.
Said NTUC First Campus Chief Executive
Officer Chan Tee Seng, “If we believe that the first
six years of a child’s development are important
formative years, society must be prepared to put
in the appropriate resources to attract teachers
with the right qualifications and attributes into
the industry. We made a bold move in 2009 to
raise the salaries of new and existing teachers
during the global economic downturn. This move
has helped us attract new entrants into the early
childhood sector and we were able to retain good
and experienced teachers. We will continue to
enhance the attractiveness of the early childhood
profession, and make it a career of choice, love
and passion.”
CBF is about making every worker
Upping service quality
NTUC First Campus has also geared up to better
the quality of curriculum delivery. SEED Institute
signed a collaboration agreement with the
Singapore Centre for Chinese Language to ensure
they are kept abreast with the latest happenings
in Chinese language teaching. To advocate the
importance of up-skilling to become better,
NTUC First Campus also offered 25 scholarships
amounting to an investment of $1 million. $68,000
worth of scholarships were also given out to
Chinese teachers and Curriculum Specialists to
pursue a Degree in Early Childhood in Chinese.
NTUC First Campus is also taking extra efforts
to ensure a safe and conducive environment for
infant care. This involves collaborating with the
National University Hospital (NUH) as well as
tapping on a pool of retired nurses.
Mr Chan elaborated, “The care and
experiences given in the first three years of a
child’s life are important and leave long-lasting
effects on future development and learning. We
are committed to raising the quality of infant
care service and have partnered with medical
professionals in NUH to jointly develop a new
infant care programme and enhance training
courses for infant care teachers islandwide. We
have also brought in a pool of retired nurses who
are experienced in caring for infants. They will be
working with our centre principals and infant care
teachers to evaluate, enhance and put in place
best practices in health, safety and care.”
CBF is about making continuous
NTUC First Campus’ class-leading efforts to
become better have translated to better jobs for
workers and a more attractive ECE industry and
will certainly shape the industry for the better.
In the past, being a pre-school
educator was not a popular job
as it was low-paying and had
no professional recognition.
However, things are different
today. With increased salary,
emphasis on qualifications, and
professional experts involved in
curriculum planning, the Early
Childhood Education industry
has seen a transformation and
pre-school teachers are now
regarded as professionals.”
Sumitra Nair, My First Skool (Woodlands Circle) Principal
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Labour Movement Annual
World’s leading oil rig builder
A strong innovation culture has helped Keppel
FELS enhance its reputation as the world’s leading
designer, builder, and repairer of mobile offshore
oil rigs. The company leverages on decentralised
manufacturing of pre-outfitted modules in regional
satellite yards like China and Philippines. This
involves the employment of efficient supply chain
methods to manage the logistic supplies to these
decentralised manufacturing centres, thus enabling
the grand assembly in Singapore just-in-time. This
has led to increased throughput in Singapore and
faster turnaround time.
Using state-of-the-art software technology
to tap on its worldwide engineering talent pool
from places like Bulgaria, Mumbai and China, the
company also enables a seamless collaboration in
designing class-leading products.
CBF is about working smarter.
Through a performance-based reward system,
workers also gain from sharing their ideas.
Productivity savings achieved through improved
work processes, such as the idea to install
pipe dispenser systems, have been returned as
productivity bonuses to employees.
CBF is about gain-sharing.
Innovative culture
leads the way
In the competitive business of building oil rigs, Keppel FELS
has managed to stay ahead by ensuring that everyone puts on
their thinking caps to be more productive. Big or small, every
idea has received due attention to help the company build a
pervasive culture of innovation.
“These productivity incentives help workers
understand that Cheaper Better Faster is for their
benefit too. We have open communication with
management and our union has always worked
hand-in-hand with the company to improve
productivity,” said Ms Atyyah Hassan, General
Secretary, Keppel FELS Employees’ Union.
Through all these efforts, the subsidiary of Keppel
Offshore & Marine Group delivered 13 rigs in
2009, compared to six in 2007, doubling its output
in two years with minimum increase in capital
Pipeline of innovative ideas
rying to get hold of a pipe they needed used to be a chore
for shipyard workers at Keppel FELS. It meant having to use
three people to go through a pile for 30 minutes to extract
the one they needed. After seeing straw dispensers at fast
food restaurants, one employee had a brainwave and shared it with
the company. His idea was floated up and pipe dispensers have been
installed. Now it takes one worker 12 minutes to get his pipe, resulting in
a 40 per cent improvement in productivity.
“We helped our employees see that productivity can be improved
through meticulous planning and employment of new tools and
techniques, not necessarily with greater manpower or longer man hours.
We also deepened our engagement with our workers, and this has
helped shape mindsets towards productivity goals,” said Mr Wong Fook
Seng, General Manager, Planning & Control/Quality Systems.
We helped our employees see
that productivity can be improved
through meticulous planning and
the employment of new tools
and techniques, not necessarily
with greater manpower or longer
man hours.”
Wong Fook Seng (pictured above, extreme right), Keppel
FELS Planning & Control/Quality Systems General Manager
CBF does not mean working longer hours and
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Cheaper Better Faster economy
Cheaper Better Faster lifts SIA
Engineering Company to greater heights
From left: Mr Cedric Ho and Mr Png Kim Chiang
SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC) is a shining example of what strong labourmanagement relations and Total Productivity can achieve. Their target of $10 million in
productivity gains from Phase 1 projects shows just how serious they are in NTUC’s
Cheaper Better Faster (CBF) initiative. Under Phase 1, they launched six CBF projects in
November 2009 for their line and airframe maintenance business, and are now well
underway in achieving savings from these. The icing on the cake is that 24 to 33 per
cent of any productivity gains achieved will be shared with staff in quarterly payments.
Spurred on by these achievements, they have already embarked on Phase 2 which
promises another $10 million in productivity gains. SIAEC’s Executive Vice-President
Operations Png Kim Chiang and Senior Technician Cedric Ho share their thoughts on the
company’s CBF initiatives.
Always on its toes
Mr Png Kim Chiang
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s a leading global aircraft maintenance,
repair and overhaul service provider,
SIA Engineering Company has to be
constantly on its toes. Maintaining a
leading position in a very competitive business
is not a guarantee, which is why SIAEC has
embarked on its CBF initiatives to further raise
productivity. SIAEC Executive Vice-President
Operations Png Kim Chiang gives some
background, “This productivity drive is not
something that we have just started. All these
years, we have been working on continuous
improvement. Our competition is at the global level,
and we are competing with very strong players
from different parts of the world.
“In our relentless drive to sharpen
competitiveness, we have been focusing on three
key areas, namely price, quality and turn-time.
The NTUC’s CBF strategy essentially touches on
the same areas but the choices of words are more
dynamic and effective in reaching out to the hearts
and minds of our staff.
“CBF makes it easier for all employees to
understand. It is not something that management
or staff ought to be doing alone, but is something
that the organisation as a whole is doing
collectively. The involvement of all staff, with the
unions facilitating, is a critical success factor.”
Mr Png explained that it is total productivity
- labour productivity, leveraging on technologies,
process improvements and better control
of material usage - that will bring about the
4/22/10 8:55:59 PM
Labour Movement Annual
productivity gain savings. Regular communication
and mutual understanding between staff and
management is a key enabler.
CBF is not about labour
productivity alone but Total
“We get the managers and staff involved, and
they get together to work things out. The staff
are the best people to decide how to improve,
especially on processes, as they know what are the
difficulties faced in doing their jobs,” said Mr Png.
He emphasised that achieving the productivity
gains is not a case of pushing staff to work longer
and harder but working smarter. Being in a skillsintensive industry, SIAEC puts a premium on staff
development and some of the CBF initiatives
require the company to invest in new equipment
and training.
maintenance and one of the CBF initiatives we
introduced was the transit kit. This saves a lot of
time as all the necessary tools and equipment that
we need are put into one tool box. Prior to this,
we had to queue at the stores to requisite each
item individually. This takes up time and the queue
gets long during a shift change when one shift is
returning the equipment and the new shift is taking
out the same equipment.
CBF is about working smarter.
“The transit tool kit applies the LEAN principle,
where you remove waste and get value. The
concept is really good as we book out one
complete kit with all the things that we need and
the time saved is channelled to productive work. I
have been here 20 years and I can see very clearly
the difference CBF has made.”
Mr Ho said that when planes are in transit, time
is really of the essence: “In line maintenance we are
really time-pressed. Aircraft arrive and depart round
the clock, and punctuality is critical. We cannot
afford to let the aircraft be held up unnecessarily.
By freeing up unproductive time, we are able to
devote more attention to customers’ needs.
CBF is about reducing wasteful
input and increasing useful output.
Mr Cedric Ho
Mr Png added, “CBF is a never-ending journey
because it is centred on continuous improvements.
The day we stop doing all these is the day we
become irrelevant. It involves everybody. Staff have
put in their efforts and therefore sharing the gains
with them is a key component of our CBF drive.
CBF is about gain-sharing.
“When we look at the organisation, it is really a
grouping of people working on common objectives.
The competition is with the rest of the world and
so there is a need for unions, management and
staff to work closely together to make sure that
the company is globally competitive. That way, we
can continue to win contracts, bring in the work
and ultimately, staff will share the benefits of higher
profits. The synergy, teamwork and collaboration
between staff and management will position the
company well to compete in the global arena.”
CBF makes the difference
SIAEC Senior Technician and Singapore Airlines
Staff Union member Cedric Ho’s place of work is
where the action is. He services planes on transit at
Changi Airport and is a witness to the changes that
SIAEC’s CBF initiatives have achieved. He ought to
know as he has spent 20 years at SIAEC.
Mr Ho gives some insights, “I am in line
“Another CBF initiative involved the use of
wireless notebooks. Our engineers previously
had to shuttle to and from the aircraft and the
office to perform defect rectification. Now with all
the necessary information in the notebooks, it is
like the office is in their hands. The engineers are
able to access technical manuals, check status
of aircraft and equipment, and order spares.
We will keep on tweaking and fine-tuning each
CBF initiative until we get something that’s really
effective, and then improve on it some more.”
He added that staff and management are
always sharing ideas on improving work, “It is
a culture here that workers and management
share good rapport with each other. Many in
management have risen through the ranks, and
so they know the work and the people very well.
We have a really good, harmonious industrial
relationship in this company.”
Cheaper Better Faster makes
it easier for all employees to
understand. It’s not something
that management or staff
ought to be doing alone,
but is something that the
organisation as a whole
is doing collectively. The
involvement of all staff, with the
unions facilitating, is a critical
success factor.”
Png Kim Chiang, SIA Engineering Company
Executive Vice-President Operations
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Inclusive Workforce
Inclusive workforce
We remain committed to re-skill, up-skill, and
multi-skill workers of All Collars, All Ages and All
Nationalities so that they can share in Singapore’s
economic growth.
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Labour Movement Annual
All can Re-skill, Up-skill, Multi-skill
knew my journey in my new career in
the tourism sector would be a climb
from the bottom of the ladder,” shared
Mr Lim Herh Kim, 55, who used to be
a business development manager and an
operations manager in the manufacturing
industry before he was retrenched in
January 2009.
Mr Lim is a good example of a
professional who made quick and bold
moves to change his career path when the
economic crisis last year cost him his job.
Although his retrenchment was an
unexpected blow, Mr Lim diligently
kept up to date with the latest training
opportunities available for PMETs
(Professionals, Managers, Executives and
Technical People) like him, and it was not
long before he stumbled upon NTUC’s e2i
(Employment and Employability Institute).
He made a trip to its Bukit Merah campus
in February 2009 and was screened by
employability coaches who advised him to
attend the Executive Workshop.
“The workshop was a timely refresher
on resume and cover letter writing as well
as on grooming techniques. Subsequently,
these skills came in handy in my job
Mr Lim Herh Kim
interviews,” he remarked.
Concurrently, e2i also referred him to industry
immediately. Within a month, Mr Lim was
previews and job fairs in sectors like healthcare
employed by Dorison Travel Private Limited
and security. But close to Mr Lim’s heart was the
as a Business Development Manager on 2
tourism sector. “I believe that tourism is a sunrise
March 2010. Though he had to take a pay cut,
industry,” he said.
he remains optimistic and believes that the
Mr Lim grabbed the opportunity to try out
experiences from his previous career and the
the tourism sector when e2i introduced him to
PCP would help in his new job.
the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP)
“My job involves securing travel tenders for
offered by the Singapore Workforce Development
schools and building up business possibilities in
Agency (WDA).
this area,” he shared. Barely a month on the job,
“It was a year-long course that equipped me
Mr Lim has already led a group of students from
with the Workforce Skills Qualification Diploma in
United World College to Taman Negara.
Tourism. I went through on internship programme
He added, “I am grateful to e2i, WDA and my
with Sentosa Leisure Group and gained handsemployer for giving me an opportunity to venture
on experience for a real taste of the industry,” he
into a new career at my age. Many people
actually ask me if this is a temporary job. I tell
Upon completing the course in February
them that this may very well be my last career, so
2010, Mr Lim set out to look for a job
I should give it my best shot, shouldn’t I?”
A new beginning
PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technical People)
Assisted over 1,960 PMETs with:
• Better employability and job search skills
through Executive Workshops.
• New skills for new careers in growth
sectors such as Aerospace, Construction,
Creative, Food & Beverage, Healthcare,
Retail, Security and Tourism through
the 1-year Professional Conversion
Programme (PCP).
Continue efforts to re-skill and up-skill PMETs:
• For new careers in growth sectors such as Aerospace, Creative,
Retail, and Tourism, through the PCP and Executive Workshops.
• Through deep skill development programmes to train PMETs in
specialised areas such as childcare for dyslexic children, franchising
expertise, relationship management, and more.
• By developing an apprenticeship programme in partnership with
employers that allows PMETs to be trained and placed in the
apprenticeship host company.
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 73
4/22/10 9:00:49 PM
Inclusive workforce
All can Re-skill, Up-skill, Multi-skill
Mr Goh Meng Huat (right)
From metals to fabrics
hen I heard about the upcoming
integrated resorts, I was excited
and hoped to build a career in
the sector as I felt it would play
a big part in Singapore’s growth in the next few
years. I then tried several times to get a job at
the integrated resorts but was not successful
until I heard about NTUC’s e2i (Employment
and Employability Institute),” said Mr Goh Meng
Huat, 41.
Working in the manufacturing industry for
some 15 years, Mr Goh took the bold step
of making a career switch with a boost of
confidence from e2i.
“I visited e2i and was advised by the
employability coaches to attend the Certified
Service Professional (CSP) course. I am glad I
did because the course prepared me for a new
challenge. I have since gained more confidence,”
he said.
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 74
After his five-day CSP training in April 2009,
Mr Goh was quickly given the opportunity to be
part of Resorts World Sentosa through tourism
industry previews and job fairs organised by
e2i. He started work with Universal Studios
Singapore, the new theme park located within
Resorts World Sentosa, on 2 November 2009.
He joined as Crew (Wardrobe) and within just
two months, rose to the ranks of Team Lead
As Team Lead (Wardrobe), he is in charge of
managing the ten different sets of casino crew
uniforms. Every day, he ensures that casino crew
members have their uniforms ready when they
report to work. He also occasionally serves staff
at the wardrobe service counters.
“From dealing with metal parts and
machinery to working with fabrics and people, I
knew I had to put in a lot of extra effort and time
to learn my duties well and to perform in my new
job. Attending the CSP course helped in many
ways – I learnt to relate to people better, serve
customers cheerfully and remain positive – and
4/22/10 9:00:57 PM
Labour Movement Annual
that enabled me to handle challenges like shift
work on the new job,” added Mr Goh.
Although he now draws a salary that is about
30 per cent lower than what he was drawing
from his previous job, Mr Goh’s passion for his
new-found dream job has not deterred his work
Said Miss Karen Lee, Assistant Manager,
Human Resources, Resorts World Sentosa,
“Mr Goh learns very quickly. He is not afraid to
take on additional duties and pushes himself
to learn many new things. He is willing to work
longer hours and even comes back to work on
weekends voluntarily. We hope to find more
passionate workers like Mr Goh through e2i.”
From dealing with metal parts
and machinery to working with
fabrics and people, I knew I
had to put in a lot of extra effort
and time to learn my duties
well and to perform in my new
job. Attending the CSP course
helped in many ways…”
Mr Goh Meng Huat, 41, Team Lead (Wardrobe),
Resorts World Sentosa
From left: Miss Karen Lee and Mr Goh Meng Huat
Enhancing Employment and Employability Through e2i
Assisted 53,300 workers - 16,000 placed in new jobs and
27,200 upgraded through SPUR (Skills Programme for
Upgrading and Resilience).
2010 Target:
Assist 50,000 workers - place 29,000 into new jobs in the
same or in new industries.
Key Strategies:
Up vacancies in new industries and growth sectors in a
post integrated resorts job market; train job seekers in
highly sought after skills.
Up productivity:
• Through Best Sourcing Initiative - emphasise quality
instead of price.
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 75
• Through Job Re-creation Programme - to effect workercentric and productivity practices industry-wide.
• Re-skill, up-skill and multi-skill the workforce to result in
better jobs, better pay, and a better life for workers.
• Through Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications,
in collaboration with the Singapore Workforce
Development Agency (WDA) to professionalise industries
such as aerospace, creative industries, food and
beverage, landscape, retail, security and tourism.
Up capacity of e2i by working with WDA to develop the East
and West Continuing Education and Training Centres.
4/22/10 9:01:06 PM
Inclusive workforce
Re-employment of Older Workers
Older, but better
didn’t realise that I have actually
reached retirement age because I am
so comfortable working and my age
does not affect my job performance
in any way. Only when people tell me that
I am past retirement age that I realise it,”
said Mr Ramesh Prakash Sharma, 65.
Mr Ramesh today is gainfully
re-employed as a Technical Mentor at
Qioptiq Singapore Private Limited where
he now provides specific technical
training and advice to production and
line leaders at the lens department.
Joining the company on 1 December
1988, Mr Ramesh has clocked 22
Mr Ramesh Prakash Sharma (pictured above, left), 65,
Technical Mentor, Qioptiq Singapore Private Limited
years of service, and gets better every
day, thanks to his years of accumulated
“We do optics manufacturing, which is a bit
different from other sectors so our work processes
require individual knowledge and skill. From my
Such awareness can only be brought about
experience, I am able to give my junior colleagues
by someone who has years of experience and
a hands-on approach on how to do certain things,
expertise, explained Mr Chua Teow Tzing,
and from there, they can learn and correct their
Qioptiq Singapore’s Managing Director, “Ramesh
mistakes very quickly. My colleagues appreciate
contributes very much to problem solving. Our
my contribution and don’t feel that I am old,” said
industry processes are long and complex, and
Mr Ramesh.
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 76
From my experience, I am able to
give my junior colleagues a handson approach on how to do certain
things, and from there, they can
learn and correct their mistakes
very quickly. My colleagues
appreciate my contribution and
don’t feel that I am old.”
4/22/10 9:01:23 PM
Labour Movement Annual
we encounter problems on a daily basis. So the
ability to solve problems is crucial to keep the
production line going. Thus, it is important that we
have someone who is familiar with our business
processes and can troubleshoot. This is where the
experience of an older worker plays an important
The outcome was possible because the
Singapore Industrial & Services Employees’ Union
and NTUC’s Raising Effective Retirement Age
team worked closely with Qioptiq Singapore to
tap on the ADVANTAGE! funding for areas such
as training and welfare of mature workers. The
company has since been proactively seeking out
new initiatives to ensure that their re-employment
efforts are sustainable and scalable, achieving
the highest level in NTUC’s structured
re-employment framework. With the union’s
help, Mr Ramesh also did not have any forms of
reduction in salary or employment benefits.
Re-employment of Older Workers
Re-employment enables older workers to be gainfully
employed for a fulfilling life, while at the same time, being
a value-added resource to companies, thereby enhancing
companies’ competitiveness.
Key Strategies:
Intensify engagement with companies through unions
to increase the level of commitment to re-employment
• Structured HR policies on re-employment.
• 6,999 re-employed workers.
• Job and workplace re-design to be more age• 828 companies committed (80 per cent of unionised
companies) of which, 45 per cent have at least a structured • Performance-based remuneration.
HR policy on re-employment.
• Employability training and re-training to help older
2010 Targets:
workers remain relevant.
• 8,000 re-employed workers.
• Workplace health promotion programmes.
• 900 committed companies (89 per cent of unionised
companies) with 60 per cent of committed companies with
a structured HR policy on re-employment.
Back-to-Work Women
Growing up all
over again
used to feel like an infant when it came to
the world of computers. There were times
when my son used to get quite impatient
with me whenever I asked him to teach me
how to use the computer. With much effort, I
started from the basics. I never gave up although
it was challenging and today, I’m proud to say
that I can use the computer confidently,” said
Madam Jenny Lee, 51.
Today, Madam Lee writes emails and
uses the Internet comfortably in her job as an
Administrative Clerk and Receptionist with New
World Home Care Private Limited.
NTUC Women’s Development Secretariat
(WDS) and NTUC LearningHub Private Limited
walked the journey with Madam Lee as she took
these progressive steps.
Madam Lee became a homemaker when her
only son was about three years old. For some
20 years, Madam Lee left the corporate scene
as she dedicated her time to taking care of her
family, occasionally assisting her husband in his
electronics business. Last year, the shop closed
down due to slowdown in business. Madam Lee
Madam Jenny Lee
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 77
4/22/10 9:01:32 PM
Inclusive workforce
then decided to return to the workforce.
“We needed additional income to manage
the family and at the same time, I wanted to
keep myself updated with the new forms of
technology. With a job, I also enjoy contributions
to my Central Provident Fund (CPF), medical
benefits, performance incentives and even leave
that can be cashed in if unused. But landing a
job was not easy,” she said.
While her mind was set on finding a job,
Madam Lee was at a loss on where to get
started until she chanced upon basic literacy
courses held at NTUC LearningHub. She picked
up some elementary skills from the course and
continued in her job search.
A call centre industry preview conducted by
WDS caught her attention. She was screened at
the preview on 2 November 2009 and showed
eagerness and positive attitude to learn and
broaden her employability options. Staff from
WDS then selected Madam Lee to first attend
the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(LCCI) Qualifications course in Call Centre
“This course was what helped me secure
a job. What I learnt on personal grooming,
presentation skills and, most importantly, resume
writing skills enabled me to score additional
points at my interview. The telemarketing
techniques taught were also very useful because
in my new job, I have to make calls to new and
existing customers to promote our fairs, cooking
lessons and new products,” she said.
Madam Lee joined New World Home
Care on 11 December 2009 and became the
first employee to be hired in the company’s
new kitchenware segment. Madam Lee was
confirmed within just three months on her job
and was also given a salary increment.
Mr Christopher Ng, the company’s marketing
executive, commented, “Right from day one,
Madam Lee took great pride in her work.
She does her work promptly and without any
supervision. She is an eager learner and never
hesitates to take on additional duties that will
require her to learn new things frequently. With
her around, our administrative work processes
are handled very efficiently. She is an asset to
the company.”
We needed additional income to
run the family, and at the same time,
I wanted to keep myself updated
with the new forms of technology.
...But landing a job was not easy...
The LCCI Qualifications course in
Call Centre Operations was what
helped me secure a job.”
Madam Jenny Lee (pictured above), 51, Administrative Clerk and
Receptionist, New World Home Care Private Limited
Back-to-Work Women
NTUC Women’s Development Secretariat will continue
with a 3R-Recruit, Re-adjust, Retain-approach to
involve more women in the workforce in a
sustainable way.
• Placed 2,580 women back to work.
• 135 companies engaged in family-friendly
programmes like flexi-work arrangements and Little
Ones @ Work.
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 78
2010 Targets:
• Recruitment: 2,500 job placements through job fairs,
recruitment drives, and job portal accessibility.
• Re-adjustment: 2,500 training places to increase
women’s employability.
• Retention: 150 companies committed to adopting
work-life integration and flexi-work arrangements
through outreach programmes and seminars.
• Assisting 1,000 single mothers in securing jobs through
WeCare for U Project.
4/22/10 9:01:44 PM
Labour Movement Annual
Contract and Casual Workers
Cheers to up-skilling
aving to look after her two children, Madam
Karis Cheer, 44, could not work long hours.
In her previous job as an ad-hoc Teaching
Assistant, she was required to work just a few
hours per week and took home a paltry $100 to $200
a month. Hence, she did not qualify for the Workfare
Income Supplement (WIS) scheme because she simply
could not make the Central Provident Fund (CPF)
contributions. Needless to say, statutory benefits were
That was the plight Madam Cheer, an O-Levels
holder, was in when she signed up as a member of the
NTUC Unit for Contract and Casual Workers
(UCCW), in 2008. “When I signed
up to be a member, I also signed
up for the courses UCCW
provided because I was
interested in them and wanted
to upgrade my skills to get a
better job. They interviewed
me to determine what course
I should take. I’m very
thankful that the courses were
subsidised by UCCW,” said
Madam Cheer.
Madam Karis Cheer (pictured above), 44, Scanning Assistant,
To say the least, it was a
Singapore Aero Engine Services Private Limited
life-changing moment. UCCW
signed her up for the U Train
U Gain training initiative on 31
March 2009, where she took the Attitude, Skills and
Knowledge (ASK) course. “The course helped me improve my
knowledge about the current job market and taught me about the
importance of enhancing employability and embracing lifelong
learning through training. After I took the course, I became more
positive, with a new mindset.”
The ASK training ignited Madam Cheer’s determination to
NTUC’s Unit for Contract and Casual
upgrade further. UCCW then put her through the Workplace
Workers aims to enhance the economic and
Information and Communications Technology course which
equipped her with Information and Communication Technology
social well-being of the vulnerable low-wage
(ICT) applications commonly used at the workplace.
contract and casual workforce.
“Last time, I could only write emails, now I am able to scan
documents, download and upload information, consolidate files,
and more,” she said.
• Reached out to over 6,000 workers
With her improved knowledge and competent ICT skills,
through events and activities.
UCCW was able to recommend Madam Cheer to a higher paying
Helped over 3,000 low-wage workers
contract job at Singapore Aero Engine Services Private Limited
up their skills and pay through the Best
(SAESL) which paid nearly four times more. It also came with CPF
Sourcing Initiative Early Adopters Scheme
contributions and proper statutory benefits.
On 1 February 2010, Madam Cheer started her new job as
(BEAS) that was launched in July 2009.
a Scanning Assistant which requires her to scan the company’s
2010 Targets:
important documents and upload them to the main server for
everyone to access or save them into CDs for dissemination. It
• Reach out to 20,000 contract and
not only saves SAESL the cost of outsourcing the service to a
casual workers through the newly
third party, but also speeds up the time the company receives the
set-up Centre for Contract and Casual
Workers at NTUC’s e2i (Employment and
“I am happy to have taken the courses because I am able to
Employability Institute).
work in a better environment where I can learn a lot of things. With
my higher salary, I am also able to take better care of my family’s
• Collaborate with e2i to train 1,000
needs. I also have medical benefits and annual leave,” she said.
SAESL’s Human Resource Executive, Ms Chris Chiu
• Up-skill 8,000 low-wage workers and help
commented, “Madam Cheer is very positive and doesn’t find this
them receive better pay through BEAS.
job boring. She fits the profile of the worker that we are looking
I am happy to have taken the courses
because I am able to work in a better
environment where I can learn a lot of
things. With my higher salary, I am also able
to take better care of my family’s needs.”
Contract and Casual Workers
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 79
4/22/10 9:01:51 PM
Inclusive workforce
All Nationalities
to fill
the gap
uests at the Raffles
Hotel Singapore can
count on Malaysian
native, Mr Lee
Joo Heng to attend to the daily
needs and requests of the in-house
residents from arrival to departure.
As a butler, he acts as a single point
of contact for guests throughout
their stay. With his cheerful and
friendly disposition, he epitomises
what good service should be.
Mr Pierre Jochem, Regional
Vice President, Operations, Asia
Pacific, Raffles Hotels and Resorts
and General Manager, Raffles Hotel
Singapore, which is unionised under
Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’
Union, remarked, “Raffles Hotel
believes in hiring the best talents
and has always been open to
hiring workers of all nationalities.
The international line-up of butlers
adds diversity to the team and their
knowledge of other languages such Mr Lee Joo Heng
as Malay, Tagalog, Korean and
Mr Jochem agreed, “Joo Heng makes an
Japanese is also an added advantage that helps
to improve on his skills and knowledge
us to connect with our guests who come from all
by constantly reading or learning from
parts of the world.”
his seniors and colleagues. He is always
Mr Jochem, who is acknowledged that
enthusiastic and receptive towards training
the number of Singaporeans and Permanent
courses recommended by the hotel.”
Residents applying for the butler positions is low.
Mr Lee has come a long way since he
“Hiring suitable foreign talent definitely helps
first came to Singapore nine years ago. His
to supplement the local pool where there is
biggest hurdle at that point was brushing
insufficient local manpower to fill up certain jobs
up his command of the English Language.
with special requirements like foreign language
He realised the importance of the language
proficiency or skills that the local workforce does
in Singapore and worked hard to improve
not possess,” he said.
himself, with some help from his co-workers.
Since starting work at Raffles Hotel two
“When I converse with my colleagues, I tell
years ago, Mr Lee has undergone many training
them to correct me if I make any mistakes with
programmes to equip him with the best service
the words I use. That way, I learn to speak
skills as well as perform a variety of functions. Mr
better English,” said Mr Lee.
Lee commented, “Being trained across functions
At Raffles Hotel, Mr Lee also works
such as Housekeeping, Front Office, as well as,
cohesively with his colleagues, Singaporeans
Food and Beverage have allowed me to widen
and other foreign workers alike, and finds it
my job scope and meet the guests’ need. For
easy to turn to them when he has job-related
example, I can assist with Front Office operations
doubts or queries. Together, they work as a
and administrative tasks like the Front Office
team to bring the best service to the guests at
Agents and even help Room Service serve meals
Raffles Hotel.
when necessary.” Being able to provide personal
service is a key part of Mr Lee’s job and he finds
satisfaction in exceeding the expectation of every
guest he serves.
The Raffles Hotel management also sends
their butlers through a course conducted
by a United Kingdom based company
that specialises in butler training. Mr Lee
candidly pointed out an example of what
he picked up at the course, “I learnt how
to pack luggage to efficiently minimise
creases on the clothes.” He expressed
his appreciation to the management for
their support towards staff training. Mr
Lee’s passion to learn is obvious. “Every
day is an opportunity to learn new things.
Learning is something that doesn’t stop,”
Mr Pierre Jochem, General Manager, Raffles Hotel Singapore and
he said.
Regional Vice President, Operations, Asia Pacific, Raffles Hotels and
Hiring suitable foreign talents
definitely helps to supplement the
local pool where there is insufficient
local manpower to fill up certain jobs
with special requirements like foreign
language proficiency or skills that the
local workforce does not possess.”
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 80
4/22/10 9:01:59 PM
Labour Movement Annual
to serve
ind a yes.” This is Ms
Rosemarie Agunod
Daguplo’s personal
service motto that has
made her an exemplary Senior Staff
Nurse at Changi General Hospital
(CGH), which is unionised under
Healthcare Services Employees’
Union. Ms Daguplo’s job in the
orthopaedic department entails
preparing patients for operations
and receiving them post-surgery.
CGH Deputy Director of Nursing,
Ms Elaine Ng said, “We have
received positive feedback about
her from patients and peers. We also
noted that she stays beyond her
Ms Rosemarie Agunod Daguplo (centre) attending to a patient.
duty hours to help out in the ward
also observed that migrant nurses prefer night
and she is always cheerful and remains calm even
shifts and call back duty because of the additional
in resuscitations and critical situations.”
income so they often help to balance the roster on
It is no wonder Ms Daguplo was awarded the
public holidays.
Excellent Service Award in 2003, 2004 and 2009,
Working in a foreign land, Ms Daguplo had
thus making her a glowing example of a migrant
some communication barriers at first, especially
worker who has added value to her employer.
with elderly patients who were less likely to
Ms Daguplo came to Singapore from the
understand English. To help staff like Ms Daguplo
Philippines eight years ago, and foreign nurses
overcome this, CGH sends them for language
like her have complemented the talent pool at
courses to allow them to acquire working
CGH in more ways than one.
knowledge of local languages such as Malay and
Ms Ng explained, “To meet the increased
Mandarin, and provides them with a cue book of
demand on public healthcare, we have to employ
commonly used words. Ms Daguplo also relies on
foreign nurses. They contribute valuable skills and
her colleagues for help. “In every shift, we have
expertise to our workforce and some of them also
Malay and Chinese staff who can help us when
share their overseas experiences with us.” Ms Ng
we are faced with language problems. I enjoy
working with my colleagues as we share the same
goal to provide excellent service to patients,” she
Ms Daguplo is also a strong believer
in self-upgrading. She frequently attends
training courses where she picks up additional
medical-related skills such as cardiopulmonary
resuscitation and people skills. She also
undergoes a competency checklist annually to
ensure that her skills are current and relevant
and even does her own research on orthopaedic
procedures to better herself.
Ms Rosemarie Agunod Daguplo (centre) with colleague.
All Nationalities
As an inclusive Labour Movement, NTUC also reaches out
to migrant workers.
Outreach to 22,372 migrant workers through engagement
events and seminars.
2010 Targets:
Outreach to 21,700 migrant workers; train at least
1,000 workers in basic conversational English for better
communication with co-workers.
73-81 workercentric10pp.indd 81
Key Strategies:
• Increase awareness of NTUC and the Migrant Workers
Centre among migrant workers, industry associations
and dormitory operators.
• Educate migrant workers on their basic rights and
social support structures available.
• Partner Ministry of Manpower, Singapore National
Employers Federation and other industry associations
to promote good employment practices and facilitate
harmonious relations between migrant workers and
local workers.
4/22/10 9:02:17 PM
Singapore’s tripartism has weathered yet another
storm and has emerged stronger. The trust among
Government, employers and the Labour Movement
will be critical in our push towards productivity
breakthroughs with win-win-win outcomes.
Tripartism opener.indd 82
4/22/10 9:04:24 PM
Labour Movement Annual
Labour Movement
‘Tripartism is a hard-won trust’
NTUC was represented on the Economic Strategies Commitee
(ESC) by Assistant Secretary-General Josephine Teo (right),
who also co-chaired the Sub-Committee on Fostering Inclusive
Growth. She says, though her Sub-Committee debated the hot
topic of foreign workers, there was always mutual trust.
What was your stand at the ESC?
Mrs Josephine Teo: Since the beginning of
2008, I have been calling for adjustments to our
foreign worker policy. While recognising foreign
workers’ important contributions to Singapore,
easy access to them I felt, had disincentivised
employers to participate in NTUC’s Jobs Recreation Programme (JRP). This reluctance was
symptomatic of a larger problem of businesses
becoming over-reliant on labour inputs to capture
growth, which I believed was unsustainable.
My stand attracted both support and criticism.
So when tasked to re-look at how Singapore
could optimise the use of foreign workers in the
ESC Sub-Committee with Bob Tan, Vice-President
of the Singapore National Employers Federation
(SNEF), I was unsure if we would make headway.
But my fears were unfounded. Bob knew
that the Labour Movement was pro-worker and
pro-business. He also knew we were not antiforeigner. We achieved early consensus that the
question was really how, as an economy, we
can make better use of our scarce manpower
resources, both local and foreign. Competition
had intensified and growth was sustainable
only with skills, productivity and innovation. The
consensus made a huge difference to the quality
of debates in our workgroup. The Government
also shared data readily to help shape our
Because of this trust among the tripartite
partners, we readily agreed to set hard targets for
productivity growth and for the share of foreigners
in the workforce. Then we focused on how to
help businesses and workers make the transition.
The Government responded by refining the levy
system and looking for ways to systemically spur
productivity and innovation.
That kind of trust which gets things done
does not happen overnight. Our competitors
can copy many things - infrastructure, fiscal
incentives, training systems. But tripartism is very,
very hard to copy. It is also hard-won so
we must never take it for granted.
Tripartism3.indd 83
Why is the Labour
Movement a strong
champion of
Mrs Josephine Teo: Our
workers and members
are not employed by
the Labour Movement
but by businesses. To be pro-worker, we have to
be pro-business. As Executive Secretary of the
Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’
Union, I had to see several companies fold during
the downturn. Chin Heng Garments was one
such example. It was a stark reminder that we
cannot always fight economic forces which move
production to cheaper locations. But if every
sector in Singapore ends up like that, we have a
major problem. Yes, we can help workers re-train
and find new jobs, but it is still painful for the
families. So it is in the Labour Movement’s interest
to work with our partners to make sure good jobs
stay in Singapore. We can lose some as part of
restructuring, but new ones must be created.
Besides good jobs, our workers desire good
housing, public transport, healthcare and
education, all of which we need a
good Government to deliver.
So as the Labour
Movement, we have
to work in partnership
with both the business
community and the
Government to further
workers’ interests.
Our competitors can copy
many things - infrastructure,
fiscal incentives, training
systems. But tripartism is very,
very hard to copy. It is also
hard-won so we must never
take it for granted.”
Mrs Josephine Teo
NTUC Assistant Secretary-General
4/22/10 9:13:45 PM
‘Tripartism to train more
to be Jedi masters’
NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Ong Ye Kung feels that
tripartism was put to the test in 2009 and passed with flying
colours. He strongly feels that tripartism will play a critical role
in helping Singapore reach for new goals set by the ESC.
What is your assessment of the state of
tripartism in Singapore?
Mr Ong Ye Kung: Tripartism has always had a
critical role in shaping the Singapore economy.
The economic crisis that Singapore has just
been through in 2009 is a case in point. What
was put to the test in the downturn, now needs
to be strengthened in the upturn. As many
companies find orders returning, we hope to see
management recognising workers’ sacrifice and
sharing the gains. If there is no gain sharing in this
upturn, we would have inadvertently undermined
the trust that underlies tripartism.
What is your interest for future tripartite
Mr Ong Ye Kung: On the part of workers, we
hope to pull tripartite efforts together to deepen
the skills of each individual worker. We are doing
very well in terms of imparting generic skills such
as literacy, service and operations. This was
part of the reason for the success of the Skills
Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR).
With the new productivity goals set by
ESC, we need to up our game. We need to
develop deep and niche skills that can enhance
competitiveness. We need to source for these
types of training from all corners of Singapore,
or even the world. It is almost like setting up
a virtual polytechnic or university that caters
to Continuing Education and Training (CET) for
adults. A colleague of mine describes this change
as moving from training clone soldiers to training
Jedi Masters, which I think is an appropriate way
to describe it.
How can tripartite partners do their part in
raising productivity?
Mr Ong Ye Kung: In terms of driving productivity
improvements, management will have to take
the lead because they run the business. But
management cannot do it alone. It has to have
the support of the Government and the Labour
Movement. Our unions, which have always been
in touch with the ground, can continue to play this
supportive role very well. They are best placed to
explain to workers the need to have skills that can
help their company compete better.
When the Singapore Bus Service was trying
to multi-skill their drivers to be able to drive
double-decker and single-decker buses along
many routes and also bring down accident rates,
suggestions to achieve this came partly from
workers. The union – the National Transport
Workers’ Union of which I am Executive Secretary
- played a strong role as a catalyst for ideas and
More Than Your
Ordinary Supermarket
We need to develop
deep and niche skills
that can enhance
competitiveness. We
need to source for these
types of training from all
corners of Singapore,
or even the world. It’s
like moving from training
clone soldiers to training
Jedi Masters.”
Mr Ong Ye Kung
NTUC Assistant Secretary-General
The recent Singapore Tripartism Forum themed, “Dialogue on Economic Strategies Committee
Report & Budget 2010 - Manpower Issues and Challenges” on 19 March 2010, a key tripartite event.
Tripartism3.indd 84
4/23/10 4:33:07 PM
Labour Movement Annual
‘Raising productivity is high on
tripartite agenda’
Management takes the lead in the drive towards higher productivity, says Mr
Alexander C. Melchers (left), Vice President of the Singapore National Employers
Federation and General Manager of C. Melchers GmbH and Company.
What are your views on productivity and its
challenges for employers?
Mr Alexander C. Melchers: Productivity is all
about optimising the allocation of resources.
And the more efficient we can be in deploying
resources, the better will be the financial
performance and the competitiveness of the
So it is the core interest of management to
improve productivity, not only of the workforce but
also of their machines and their capital. Employers
have the choice of applying different technologies,
outsourcing, using skilled or unskilled labour,
training and even re-locating their factories to
other countries.
How can we work together to achieve a
productivity breakthrough?
Mr Alexander C. Melchers: I believe that in the
current environment, employers are well advised
to make use of as many of the programmes that
the various Government agencies are offering to
assist in improving productivity.
The more our companies in Singapore
compete in global markets, the more they will
be required to be innovative and to improve
productivity all the time. Even a highly developed
country like Germany where I came from has had
to do so because of the pressure of cheap labour
from Eastern European countries. Germany has
managed to improve productivity even more in the
last few years. So there is no finality in this drive
for higher productivity. Employers cannot stop
thinking about improving productivity. But it does
not necessarily always mean reducing the number
of workers. It can mean needing fewer workers
for the same output, which allows the company
to produce more and hence to even employ more
Tripartism is a very strong collaboration
between the Government, the employers and
the unions in Singapore. It is Singapore’s unique
advantage as we pursue productivity. Productivity
improvement has always been high on the agenda
of tripartite partners, and all National Wages
Council recommendations have made it a point
to note that companies must improve productivity
to justify salary increases, and I believe this is the
right way to go.
There is no finality in this drive
for higher productivity.
Employers cannot stop thinking
about improving productivity.”
Mr Alexander C. Melchers
SNEF Vice-President
Tripartism3.indd 85
4/22/10 9:14:21 PM
‘Bosses need to walk the talk’
Dr Moh Chong Tau, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Makino Asia Pte Ltd, says employers need to lead by example.
What is the role management can play in
raising productivity?
Dr Moh Chong Tau: Employers must clearly
establish the linkage between an increase in
productivity and better standards of living for
the employees, i.e. higher take-home salary,
disposable income and increased job security.
Employers need to be innovative and move
away from traditional wage structures to a more
productivity-based system that is transparent to
the employees and allows them opportunity to
maximise their earnings. They must walk the talk.
We must also train our employees to equip
them with the necessary skills and to improve
their skill level to allow them to contribute more.
Also we need to train them to be more innovative
and to understand that they can benefit from
How can tripartite partners work together?
Dr Moh Chong Tau: Well managed companies will
always have the ESC’s goals in mind and would
innovate as the company and economy develop.
But for mainstream companies and the entire
economy to move in this direction, co-ordinated
efforts from all parties are needed.
Tripartite efforts to enlighten employers and
employees to appreciate the need for productivity
programmes, development and sharing of best
practices, centralised training and development,
and Government financial support are all critical
for these objectives to be achieved at the national
Tripartism in Singapore is unique because all
parties have a common interest in nation-building.
This promotes understanding, trust and cooperation to meet the challenges we face in this
competitive global environment.
The recent downturn is a classic example of
how tripartism has worked. Unions persuaded
employees to accept wage cuts and a shorter
workweek. Government provided various
incentives and training grants to lower the cost
of doing business and encouraged employee
Without tripartism, I do not think companies
can get support from employees or generous
Government grants and incentives to tide us
through the downturn.
Tripartism3.indd 86
Tripartism in Singapore is
unique because all parties
have a common interest
in nation-building. This
promotes understanding,
trust and co-operation to
meet the challenges we
face in this competitive
global environment.”
Dr Moh Chong Tau
Makino Asia Pte Ltd President and
Chief Executive Officer
4/22/10 9:14:33 PM
Labour Movement Annual
‘Thank you, NTUC, for
your pivotal role in 2009’
Tripartism is about building One Singapore, says
Permanent Secretary (Ministry of Manpower) Loh Khum Yean.
What is your experience of tripartism in
Mr Loh Khum Yean: Looking back at how
Singapore successfully managed the recent
downturn, it is clear to me just how important
tripartism is. To help companies cut costs to
save jobs, the tripartite partners swiftly worked
together to formulate the Tripartite Guidelines on
Managing Excess Manpower for implementation
by companies. I would like to thank the Labour
Movement for playing a pivotal role in this national
Now that the Singapore economy is
recovering, we must gear up for the challenge
in our next phase of development – raising
productivity so as to achieve sustainable and
inclusive economic growth.
The drive for higher productivity growth is vital
to the transformation of Singapore’s economy.
This transformation will require a concerted
tripartite effort involving employers, unions and
the Government. The tripartite partners must be
fully supportive and committed for the national
productivity drive to be successful.
How do we achieve a win-win-win outcome?
Mr Loh Khum Yean: As the Minister for Manpower
re-iterated in his May Day Message, everyone has
a part to play in our productivity drive, be it the
unions, employers or workers. This will create a
win-win-win outcome.
The Government will work closely with the
industry to improve productivity in different
sectors so that Singapore can progress onto
the next lap of our economic development. We
will also build up a comprehensive national CET
system that enables our workers to upgrade their
skills for better jobs and gives our companies
even better access to skilled manpower so that
they can grow. Companies will have to take the
lead in improving productivity, while workers
themselves have to take the initiative to go for
training and be flexible to take on new jobs or
Tripartism3.indd 87
types of work. In this regard, NTUC will be an
important bridge between companies, workers
and the Government.
I have found that during my own dealings
with employer and union representatives, there
is a clear understanding that we are all working
towards a common goal of growing as One
Singapore. I am confident that our unique strength
of strong tripartite co-operation will help us boost
productivity and create inclusive growth for all.
I am confident that our unique
strength of strong tripartite
cooperation will help us boost
productivity and create inclusive
growth for all.”
Mr Loh Khum Yean
Permanent Secretary (Manpower)
4/22/10 9:14:43 PM
‘We’re working well
The Government will encourage productivity growth by putting
in place the right policies, programmes and incentives, and
building up new national capability. But it cannot replace the
roles played by employers and workers, says Mr Chan Heng
Kee, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Workforce
Development Authority (WDA).
What was your experience of tripartism during
the downturn?
Mr Chan Heng Kee: My own experience in
implementing SPUR during last year’s downturn
has given me the confidence that our tripartite
partners can rise to any challenge. At every step
of the SPUR programme, from conceptualisation
through implementation to refinement, my WDA
colleagues and I have benefited from working
side-by-side with our unions and employers.
This strong partnership was a big factor
behind Singapore’s effective response to the
recession in 2009. I fully expect it to be a key
contributor to the national productivity drive
which the ESC has set. In turn, working together
to meet these new challenges will deepen
understanding and trust among the tripartite
partners and reinforce the spirit of tripartism.
ones. They will have to be prepared to work in
different ways or in different jobs.
Unions play an important role in encouraging
and advising workers and in organising and
providing training for them. Unions can also work
with employers to develop and implement ideas
for productivity improvement at the workplace.
Our unions have a headstart. They are already
playing a key role in our CET system. They have
also been working on productivity initiatives even
before the ESC. For example, since 2006, NTUC
has been working with WDA on JRP to re-design
low-paying jobs to bring about an increase in
productivity and wages for workers.
What is the challenge ahead for
Mr Chan Heng Kee: Workers will
have to deepen or refresh their
existing skills, and pick up new
My own experience in
implementing SPUR
during last year’s
downturn has given me
the confidence that our
tripartite partners can rise
to any challenge.”
Mr Chan Heng Kee
WDA Chief Executive Officer
Tripartism3.indd 88
4/22/10 9:14:58 PM
Labour Movement Annual
Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong, NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say and SNEF
President Stephen Lee at the Singapore Tripartism Forum on 19 March 2010.
As we celebrate May Day, we
thank the Government for its
boldness and decisiveness
in minimising the impact of
the global recession on our
businesses and workers.
We also thank the many
employers who led by
example in wage cuts, took
the lead in cutting costs to
save jobs, and turned excess
manpower into an investment
to improve skills and build new
Mr Lim Swee Say
NTUC Secretary-General
Advancing tripartism, strengthening union leadership
The Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTC Institute) plays a leading role in building a strong and effective
union leadership and promoting tripartism in Singapore.
Strengthening union leadership
• 1,904 union leaders were equipped to “fight” the recession through the “Upturn the Downturn” workshops.
• 2,854 unionists were trained in various certificate, diploma and short courses.
Promoting tripartism
• 2,100 unionists and employers were engaged in dialogue sessions on tripartite issues under the Singapore Tripartism
Forum (STF).
• Launched leadership programmes for promising tripartite leaders and the website under the STF.
Strengthening union leadership
• To equip 2,000 unionists with know-how on how to support Cheaper Better Faster initiatives at workplace.
• To train 200 key unionists on Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technical People (PMET) representation and
better union governance and administration.
• To pilot e-learning for union training and education programmes.
• To organise learning journeys on productivity and innovation to broaden the horizon for union leaders.
Promoting tripartism
• To strengthen communication among the tripartite partners through the e-newsletter under the STF, to reach out to at
least 20,000 practitioners.
• To conduct dialogue sessions with national leaders on national issues and policies.
• To collaborate closely with SNEF and MOM on tripartite outreach and education.
Tripartism3.indd 89
4/22/10 9:14:59 PM
For the Labour Movement to continue to be a key
partner in Singapore’s progress, we must continue
to grow stronger and more inclusive. We will
continue to provide support to our members and
their families through different stages of their lives.
member opener.indd 90
4/22/10 9:15:50 PM
Labour Movement Annual
If you don’t pay attention, you may not even notice that you have so many ‘touchpoints’
with the NTUC. Like this young mother who shops at NTUC FairPrice, places her child
with NTUC First Campus and is over the moon about enjoying LinkPoints - just some of
the ‘touchpoints’ in her life with NTUC.
Linked to U in many ways
hen Madam Rozilawati Shaher
became a mother five years ago,
she started looking for ways to stretch
|her dollar. She found the answer in just
one NTUC membership card when she joined the
Amalgamated Union of Statutory Board
Employees. Now, as a card-carrying NTUC
member, she finds herself enjoying discounts
at NTUC FairPrice, NTUC Healthcare’s Unity
pharmacies and NTUC Income. What she
appreciates most is the rate at which she chalks
up LinkPoints with every purchase.
“I buy a lot of milk powder, diapers and
vitamins for my child and the LinkPoints just grow
very fast. That is good for me because I can then
redeem LinkPoints with other purchases. This
helps bring down my grocery bill which is a big
part of my expenditure,” said the 27-year-old
dental therapist. She also uses the Uplus debit
card which helps her earn even more LinkPoints.
“I really think the NTUC membership card
makes life easier for me because I gain directly
from membership by earning LinkPoints, enjoying
rebates and special discounts when I shop for my
family,” said Madam Rozilawati who is expecting
her second child.
She sends daughter Nusrah, five, to My First
Skool childcare centre run by NTUC First Campus
near her Choa Chu Kang home. She says the
decision to place her child there was made based
on the quality curriculum offered by First Campus.
The “touchpoints” she enjoys continue to increase
as the family’s needs grow. They bought a car
recently and purchased motor insurance from
NTUC Income. The young family also enjoys time
together at Wild Wild Wet at Downtown East
which is part of NTUC Club.
NTUC members enjoy lifestyle benefits, workplace representation and professional development opportunities.
2009: Total membership of 541,000
2010: Membership goal of 600,000
• NTUC Membership Department executes a 3R strategy to enhance the value of union membership.
• Recruitment – To deepen market penetration and drive breakthrough sales
• Retention – To improve communication, increase product consumption and increase membership with NTUC
• Relationship – To enhance members’ experience with better Customer Relationship Management. Improve customer
service accessibility and efficiency, new members engagement and lifelong engagement through membership
• To engage more Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technical People (PMET) in the Labour Movement.
91-97 Membership.indd 91
4/22/10 9:20:23 PM
Learning to
speak up
hen it came to making presentations
before a crowd, Mr Subhashis Swain,
used to try and hide. He hated the
idea of standing before a crowd and
speaking up. But the Research and Development
engineer with Makino Asia Pte Ltd, who is also a
NTUC General Branch member, says he seems
to have found his voice after going for training.
“My company encouraged me to go for the
Leadership and People Management Course at
the NTUC LearningHub. As an NTUC member,
I received a discount on the course. The training
helped me become more confident as a speaker.
During the three-day training, I had to make
many presentations. My trainers encouraged
me and also gave me good tips on effective
communication. Since I came back from the
course, I have not shied away from making
presentations. It has been going well,” said
Mr Swain, 32, who is a Singapore PR
from India.
Mr Swain develops knowledge-based
software for Makino Asia Pte Ltd and says
he has a thirst for learning. He recently
completed a Masters at the Nanyang
Technological University and hopes to
find time to do a Ph.D soon. He is married
and his wife is also working in Singapore.
“Training keeps the mind active
and I think it’s really a good thing that there
are plenty of training opportunities for
NTUC members at very reasonable rates,”
he said.
A growing number of the workforce today belongs to
the PMET category. NTUC provides a multi-pronged
strategy to engage and meet the needs of PMETs:
• Workplace representation – To create greater public
awareness on the scope of representation for PMET
• Professional development – To offer comprehensive
professional development programmes targeted at
PMETs; delivered through e2i, NTUC LearningHub
and other partners
• Lifestyle – To develop PMET-targeted product
offerings and privileges, and build PMET professional
communities and Professional Chapters.
91-97 Membership.indd 92
NTUC LearningHub has stayed abreast of training needs
of our workforce in the past two decades, continuously
keeping pace with the dynamic business economy.
In February 2010, NTUC Professional Manager Executives
Institute was specially launched by NTUC LearningHub to
target the growing needs of PMETs, help harness their
potential and enhance the capabilities of organisations.
To date, NTUC LearningHub has trained more than
700,000 executives and working adults, and has
worked with more than 10,000 organisations to identify
training needs, define curriculum roadmaps and deliver
contemporary training programmes.
4/23/10 2:48:37 PM
Labour Movement Annual
Care & Share
Helping hand through the downturn
rs Maragatham fell in love
in her 20s, married her
childhood sweetheart
and became a mother of
two little girls soon after. But life
hasn’t exactly been a fairy tale for
her. She finds it a struggle to make
ends meet with her income as a
receptionist with City Gas Pte Ltd.
Her husband’s income as a cleaner
is about $700 per month. The
couple lives in a 3-room HDB flat
in Yishun with their two daughters
aged 11 and 2.
“Last year was especially
difficult for me because of the
downturn. So, the U Stretch
vouchers from NTUC were useful. I
bought groceries, milk powder and
diapers with it at NTUC FairPrice
supermarkets. The vouchers came
in a booklet which I used to get a 50
per cent discount. I received almost
$500 worth of vouchers last year.
“I also get Back to School
vouchers every December for my
elder daughter who is in
Primary 5 this year. We use that to buy books,
school uniform, shoes and bags. I also received
utility vouchers through the Union of Power and
Gas Employees (UPAGE) which helped reduce
my bills. Without all this help, I would have found
it very difficult to manage,” said Mrs Maragatham.
UPAGE, which has about 3,400 members,
makes it a point to keep all members informed
about help schemes from the NTUC, said
General Secretary RKS Nachiappan.
“In 2009, UPAGE received over $115,000
from the NTUC U Care fund. This included U
Stretch vouchers disbursed to over 450 UPAGE
members as well as 320 Back to School vouchers
which helped 155 needy families,” he said.
UPAGE Deputy General Secretary Suseela
Singaram, who is also the Branch Chairman at
City Gas where Mrs Maragatham works, added,
“I know Maragatham’s situation and personally
informed her of benefits and schemes under
U Care fund to help lighten her financial load.”
$23.2 million was raised to help over
170,000 low–wage members and their
U Care Immediate Assistance
• Many workers were affected in 2009
due to the global downturn. The U
Care Immediate Assistance provided
immediate relief to members who
were retrenched, suffered a pay-cut
or were put on temporary layoff. $8.6
million was raised to help over 47,000
Helping Families
• Family Recreation & Fun Carnival: $1.5
91-97 Membership.indd 93
million worth of vouchers distributed • Bursary and Scholarship Topup Scheme: To help unions to
to over 35,000 members & their
reach out to more beneficiaries,
families for a day of fun at Downtown
$700,000 was set aside to
provide additional funding for
• U Stretch vouchers: $5.4 million
bursaries and scholarships.
worth of vouchers were set aside
for members to help them cope with
Elderly and Children
rising costs of daily necessities.
• Fund-Raising: A total of $1.6
Children’s Education
million was contributed towards
the NTUC Eldercare Trust and
• Back to School vouchers: $5.4
NTUC First Campus Bright
million worth of vouchers targeting
Horizon Fund to assist the elderly
over 40,000 school-going children of
and children from needy families
members, to pay for their educational
needs for the new school year.
4/22/10 9:20:53 PM
Bowled over by nEbO
ou can say Mr Leow
Zi Jian has been
bowled over by the
kind of experiences
his nEbO membership has
brought him. The Temasek
Polytechnic student joined
nEbO to indulge his passion
for bowling. But he is now
hooked to volunteer work
that nEbO introduced him to.
“It’s true that I joined
nEbO to enjoy bowling for
just $2.50 on weekdays at
Downtown East. I still do, but my life has become
more interesting after I joined nEbO because I
take part regularly in the Food Distribution Service
to bring food rations to the less fortunate. I’m
also involved with the the nEbO Junior KidzQuest
which organises tours for children from under-
privileged homes to places of interest. When
I see smiles on the faces of people and when
participants clasp my hands to say ‘Thank you’,
I feel very happy,” said Mr Leow, who will be
graduating soon with a Diploma in Business
Process and Systems Engineering. What started
out as curiosity became more meaningful as he
contributed his time.
The Food Distribution Service is a nEbO
Care Community Service project which gives out
rations four times a year to homes of the less
fortunate. Working on nEbO projects has also
helped him get to know the NTUC better. He says
he has every intention of joining a union when he
starts working.
Through nEbO, NTUC believes that an emotional connection with
youths can be nurtured and sustained, leading to a naturalised
and growing relationship with the Labour Movement when they
enter the workforce.
2009: Membership increased from 20,000 to 30,000
A total of 600 activists in nEbO
2010: Membership target of 40,000
Enhance collaboration with other NTUC communities,
unions, social enterprises and departments.
Groom and increase the activist pool to 800 individuals
91-97 Membership.indd 94
4/22/10 9:21:08 PM
Labour Movement Annual
Young NTUC
with U
hen Mr Zhou Zhenghua, 35, joined
the ExxonMobil Singapore Employees
Union 10 years ago, he didn’t expect it
to change his life. The difference came
when he decided to participate in events and join
affinity groups of the Young NTUC.
“The first event I attended was a tour to
Parliament House. It was an eye opener for
me because it was well organised and I learnt
so much,” said Mr Zhou. He started carrying
his camera along for Young NTUC events later
because he wanted to capture the moments.
Today, his shutterbug hobby has evolved into
a thriving affinity group within Young NTUC
known as 20/20. Mr Zhou is the team manager
who organises group outings for like-minded
“We keep improving what 20/20 is able
to offer because we attract those who are
passionate about photography. During our
group outings, seniors will buddy the new ones
to help them take better shots. We also organise
talks and seminars at very attractive rates and
members can also buy camera equipment at
a good price,” said Mr Zhou. At last year’s May
Day Rally, he was one of the photographers that
Young NTUC was able to deploy as volunteers.
Besides being an Executive Committee member,
Mr Zhou is also active in p.L.a.Y, Young NTUC’s
performance arts group.
Mr Zhou, who is a Singaporean originally
from Sichuan, China, added, “I can say joining
Young NTUC has helped me network and get
to know more people.”
With more than 120,000 members, Young NTUC
aims to be the largest and most vibrant youth
movement in Singapore. Established since
April 2005, Young NTUC is a movement with
a difference – we encourage our youths to be
active in a purposeful way.
So far, this has included volunteerism projects
like KidzQuest, The PC Project, Free Hugs, Run
350 among others. From helping underprivileged
children, low-income families, Singaporeans at
large and the environment respectively, Young
NTUC is proud that our members have actively
volunteered their time to make a difference.
2009: Engaged 4,000 new activists
2010: Target to engage 9,000 activists
91-97 Membership.indd 95
4/23/10 2:47:55 PM
U Family
The pull of U
hen it comes to spending time with
the family, Mr Han Lee Kwang says
there’s nothing like a U Family activity.
The costs are reasonable and all
details are taken care of, says the NTUC General
Branch member. It’s one of the benefits the family
man and engineer by training says he enjoys
thoroughly as an NTUC member.
“We did try going out on our own as a family.
But I like U Family activities better. The pull factor
for me is being able to meet other Singaporean
families, and networking,” said the 47-year-old
father of two girls, 8 and 10.
One of the most memorable U Family
activities for Mr Han and his wife was the Pak
Tor with U @ The Movies. It allowed him to have
a romantic date with his wife and also enjoy
movies at a nominal charge. “I really look forward
to U Family events,
it is important for the
couple to take some
time off for themselves
With 200,000 married union members
to rekindle the
and a registered community of 27,000
passion,” he added.
members, U Family organises activities for
Besides Pak Tor
with U, Mr Han and
families to do things together at good value.
his family were also
The activities emphasise values of:
happy participants
• Social resilience - Boost one’s ability to
in last year’s May Day
cope and quickly recover when faced with a
Solidarity Walk and
“There’s an
• Strong relationships - Strengthen bonds
excitement I can’t
between parents and children
describe at the U
• Self reliance - Build independent individuals
Family activities and
who remain active and competent
at the end of the day,
it’s quality time
2009: Membership increased from 15,000 to
where we can bond
as a family.”
2010: Membership target of 30,000
91-97 Membership.indd 96
4/23/10 2:47:07 PM
Labour Movement Annual
U Live
Smile in your
golden years
r Smiley Goh Mia Chuan, 64, is truly an
active ager who lives up to his name.
The name was given to him when he was
four but is just as applicable to him now
in his retirement years. He says he is determined
to smile and enjoy his golden years. The former
Head (Sports Facilities) in the Singapore American
School joined U Live, a community of active
agers above 55 years old. He is thrilled by the
opportunities to play golf, network and enjoy life.
“One of the things I yearned to
do after retirement was to play golf.
As a U Live member, I can gather a
few ‘golfing kakis’ together. I joined
when the community was new.
When they wanted to start a golfing
enthusiasts group within U Live,
I naturally volunteered.
“But lately, I have become even
keener to teach people to play ‘birdie
ball’, a simpler form of golf that even
newbies can engage in. I think more
people should pick up golf and the
first step to that is to play ‘birdie ball’,
which is also not an expensive sport,”
he said.
The former part-time actor in
MediaCorp dramas such as Under
One Roof and Triple Nine has always
led an active live playing sports like squash. He
says his wife and only daughter, who is now
working, are happy to see him enjoying his
retirement. A true active ager, he drives a taxi for
some income and also trades shares to keep his
mind active. The contacts and networking at U
Live dovetails nicely with his requirement to meet
and network too.
“I try to live up to my name by making the
other guy smile when he is with me.”
U Live seeks to build an inclusive and vibrant
community of active agers within the Labour
Movement. This is achieved through a
comprehensive engagement programme of
social and life-skill activities, so that they
can lead a happy, healthy, productive and
purposeful life while remaining connected with
family and friends.
The 20 interest groups in the areas of sports,
culture, social pursuits, knowledge and skills,
are specifically designed for active agers.
2009: Total outreach of 29,000
2010: Target outreach of 30,000
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4/23/10 2:46:42 PM