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Government Looking into NTUC’s Call to Provide Workers with Unemployment Support

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng says more time is needed to structure the support so that the initiative can help as many workers as possible.
Model ID: 0486d4b3-11c3-4549-8395-618842015d18 Sitecore Context Id: 0486d4b3-11c3-4549-8395-618842015d18;

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng affirmed that the Government has heard NTUC’s calls for unemployment support for workers and is currently looking at how it can better support those displaced.

He was speaking at an engagement session on 2 November 2022 at the Star Vista. The session was part of Forward Singapore’s Empower Pillar.

The event saw over 60 PMEs engaging in focus group discussions and a dialogue session with Dr Tan and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.

Dr Tan said that as the global economy becomes more volatile and disruptions increase, Singapore can “expect more frequent employment, curveballs and employment shocks”, which will hit the lower-income group the hardest.

He said: “NTUC has reflected that, and it is one of the key concerns of their workers.

“We hear you, and we understand and empathise with you. We are now looking very carefully at how to provide better support to displaced workers.”

One of the Key Areas of the Empower Pillar

As part of Forward Singapore’s Empower Pillar, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) have engaged various worker segments, employers, unions, trade associations, and the community to refresh Singaporeans’ social compact on jobs and the economy.

The Empower Pillar focuses on bringing the whole of society together in three key areas, one of which is to strengthen support so that workers can bounce back should they find themselves displaced at work.

However, Dr Tan said that time is needed for the Government to structure this support as it “requires a fine balancing act” and that the goal is for this support to help as many workers as possible.

“Our greatest assurance at the end of the day is in keeping all of our workers not just physically fit but employable so that we can avoid and recover more quickly and easily from setbacks,” he added.

The Labour Movement Responds

Mr Ng was pleased to hear Dr Tan’s response that the Government will be looking into providing unemployment support for workers.

Additionally, to further strengthen NTUC’s compact with PMEs, he urged more of them to join NTUC.

Mr Ng said: “For a social compact or workers compact, it cannot be a day of reckoning of discussion, or even six months to one year of discussion, where the Government, NTUC and employers engage each other and talk. It must be a consistent effort.

“When you [PMEs] are participating actively in this conversation throughout, NTUC will be able to champion your interest effectively.”

Mr Ng also said that getting into the PME mindshare is an area that NTUC needs to improve. However, he added that NTUC hopes it can provide the support that matters to the worker group.

“[NTUC wants] to design work enablers that matter to you and design welfare programmes beyond our supermarkets that can make a difference to your lives – including upskilling areas you desire,” he said.