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Singapore Tripartism Forum Industrial Relations Seminar - Future Ready Tripartism

26 November 2014

  1. More than 250 guests from government ministries and statutory boards, unions and management partners attended the Singapore Tripartism Forum (STF) Industrial Relations (IR) Seminar. The STF IR Seminar was jointly organised by the tripartite partners for union leaders, employer representatives and government officials to discuss and exchange views on current and emerging issues on the employment and industrial relations landscape.

    Future Ready Tripartism
  2. Themed "Future Ready Tripartism", the seminar discussed how tripartism needs to evolve in order to stay relevant, and discussed two broad thrusts:

    a. The need to broaden tripartism to ensure inclusivity amidst a changing workforce profile, and;

    b. The need to deepen tripartite cooperation at the sectoral level to support the implementation of key economic initiatives.
  3. NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say delivered an address at the seminar where he highlighted key points that a) we are bringing in more professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) into the tripartite fold so as to better address their needs and expectations; b) the push for productivity as a tripartite effort; and c) the importance of gearing up workers and businesses to be future-ready.
  4. After Secretary-General Lim Swee Say’s speech, the Ministry of Manpower presented on the key challenges and trends affecting companies and workforce.
  5. The STF IR Seminar also included a closed-door dialogue session, where Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor, NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say and SNEF President Dr Robert Yap responded to the various views and concerns raised by the participants. Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan was also on the panel, which was moderated by SNEF Immediate Past President Stephen Lee. Participants at the dialogue affirmed strong and effective tripartism as key to Singapore’s continued success.
  6. The tripartite partners also released guidelines on extending and expanding the scope of union representation of executives1 at the seminar. The guidelines will take effect together with the commencement of the amended Industrial Relations Act. The advance release of the guidelines is to help prepare unions and employers early and address concerns that employers and unions had about how they should adapt to proposed amendments to the Industrial Relations Act2.

    Tripartism a key tenet of Singapore’s development and growth
  7. Strong and effective tripartism has provided the foundation for Singapore’s industrial relations landscape and has been a key competitive advantage contributing to Singapore’s development and growth. Over the years, it has promoted a stable and harmonious climate for businesses to operate, and has created good jobs for Singaporeans.
  8. Singapore’s model of tripartism has been characterised by strong partnership, mutual trust and cooperation between the government, employers and the labour movement. This is evident in the regular dialogues and the formation of various tripartite workgroups to help develop and implement solutions for national issues. Many of these tripartite workgroups have recommended many policy changes that benefited workers while enhancing the competitiveness and productivity of companies.

    Conclusion
  9. A strong tripartite partnership has been the hallmark of Singapore in contributing to its social and economic success. The long-standing trust and understanding that have been built over the years should continue to be sustained and further strengthened amongst the new generations of tripartite leaders. Tripartism in Singapore will continue to evolve with the times to address Singapore’s ongoing challenges and cater to the needs of its people.

About the Singapore Tripartism Forum 
The Singapore Tripartism Forum (STF) was jointly set up by the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). This platform was founded on a shared conviction among the three parties to work together to achieve sustainable economic and social progress for the benefit of Singapore.

About the Ministry of Manpower 
Our vision is to develop a great workforce where Singaporeans can aspire to higher incomes and fulfilling careers. Complementing this is a great workplace where companies are lauded for having outstanding employment practices and organisational cultures.

To achieve this vision, our mission is to improve the skills and productivity of the Singaporean workforce as the basis for better jobs, higher incomes and a secure retirement. We will judiciously supplement our workforce with foreigners, such that they strengthen the Singaporean core. We will also build progressive workplaces, strengthen tripartite relationships and encourage harmonious work cultures so as to create fair and forward-looking employment practices that provide safe and healthy work environments and enable balanced work-life.

About National Trades Union Congress

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is a national confederation of trade unions in the industrial, service and public sectors in Singapore. NTUC's objectives are to help Singapore stay competitive and workers remain employable for life; to enhance the social status and well-being of workers; and to build a strong, responsible and caring labour movement. NTUC's vision is to be an inclusive labour movement for all collars, ages and nationalities. NTUC is at the heart of the Labour Movement, which comprises 60 affiliated unions, one affiliated taxi association, 11 social enterprises, five related organisations and over 830,000 members. For more details, visit NTUC.

About Singapore National Employers Federation

The Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) is a trade union of employers. Our mission is to advance tripartism and responsible employment practices for sustainable business growth for the benefit of employers and their employees. SNEF has a membership of over 3,000 companies with a combined workforce of over 750,000.

1 The proposed amendments to the Industrial Relations Act will provide managers and executives with more options for representation at the workplace.
2 Refer to these links:
Tripartite Guidelines on Extending the Scope of Union Representation of Executives
Tripartite Guidelines on Expanding the Scope of Union Representation of Executives