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May Day Message 2016 by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower

  1. This year’s May Day theme of “Care, Fair and Grow” is timely. As we transform our industry and businesses to sustain growth, we must be mindful that creating good jobs and meaningful careers for our people will always be the ultimate objective of economic growth. 
  2. With an ageing population, our local workforce will grow much slower in future. At the same time, we are also moderating the increase of foreign manpower. Manpower could become the bottleneck of our future growth, unless we speed up efforts to become a more manpower-lean economy and a more productive workforce. This is the only way to ensure that businesses can continue to grow, unemployment can stay low while wages can keep moving up. 
  3. The journey of transformation has already started on three fronts. First, to stay competitive, we strive to create jobs of the future in our economy. Second, to stay employable, we strive to nurture skills of the future in our workforce. Last but not least, to meet the higher aspirations of our people, we strive to build careers of the future for Singaporeans to pursue their passions. These are not easy challenges, but we can succeed if every employer learns to value every worker more, and every worker likewise learns to value every job better. 
  4. Caring for our workers, treating them fairly and helping them to grow in their jobs and careers are of great priority to the tripartite partners. In the future economy, even though there will be abundant supply of technology, capital and innovation, good people will always be in short supply. It is to the mutual benefit of employers, unions and workers, with the strong support of the government, to work together to transform our limited manpower resources into our most valued human capital to drive our future growth. 
  5. Companies should learn to make better use and take better care of all employees regardless of age and qualification, invest in them and help them develop to their fullest potential. Unions will have to rally workers to keep learning and re-learning, upgrade and update their skills to be of greater value to their employers. On the part of the Government, we will strengthen our policy and resource support for companies and workers to adapt and grow in the future economy. 
  6. May Day is a day for workers’ protest in some countries, but a day for celebration in Singapore. Working in unity, our tripartite partners have led the economy and labour force through downturns and emerged stronger and more vibrant each time, every time. I believe we can do it again.
  7. As we go through this period of external uncertainty and internal transformation, let us care more for each other, be fair to each other, and help each other to grow. Let us all emerge stronger and be more ready to ride the next wave of globalisation. 
  8. Happy May Day to all.