Tripartism Still The Right Formula For Singapore

The model of tripartism remains the right formula for Singapore, especially in a time of global economic uncertainty and change, says Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong.  He added that tripartism, which involves the Government, employers and labour unions working together, must be safeguarded with continued adaptation to new challenges.

PM Lee’s remarks were made at the National Delegates Conference of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) yesterday (26 Oct) where he also urged union leaders to update their approaches to stay relevant.  Two particular challenges were highlighted:

  1. Helping older workers stay employed, and
  2. Meeting the desires of young professionals

Responding to the first challenge, PM Lee noted that NTUC has designed jobs and salary structures for older workers and played a key role to persuade the Government and employers to raise the re-employment age to 67 from 2017.

For the professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) segment, which comprises 50% of our workforce and is still growing, PM Lee said the labour movement has a role to play in representing PMETs with different needs and issues.

As global forces disrupting traditional jobs puts stress on workers, the Singapore worker faces these challenges from a position of strength, because of the tripartism model, PM Lee said.

Though Singapore’s model has at times been criticised over union leaders not being “fierce enough”, PM Lee noted that it has worked, with union membership growing to nearly 900,000 members even though membership in most advanced economies have declined.

Source: Tripartism still the right model for Singapore: PM Lee (The Straits Times, 27 October 2015)

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