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MOM looking to extend mediation services to more workers

The Ministry of Manpower is looking to extend mediation services to more workers, regardless of job profile and salary.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking to extend mediation services to more workers, regardless of job profile and salary.

The Tripartite Mediation Framework helps professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) settle disputes and grievances over salaries and contracts with their employers.

Today, it is only available to managers and executives who earn up to S$4,500.

However, there are plans to scrap this salary cap and include rank-and-file workers at the same time, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin at a labour movement event.

The type of disputes the mediation framework can address could also be widened, for instance, to cover re-employment.

Together with the recently announced proposal for a small claims employment tribunal, the expanded mediation framework, when ready, is expected to give workers access to more avenues of recourse when disputes arise.

"Sometimes and I think often, there will be tensions when we have differences in views and opinions. The pressure will build up for us to express these concerns and these feedback publicly as well,” said Mr Tan, who will be promoted to full minister from May 1.

“But as long as we ultimately share a 'win-win' mindset and stand, guided by our common conviction to really create a better future for Singapore and for all Singaporeans, I know that this is something we can do and that we will succeed."

Mr Tan was speaking at the annual May Day awards, which honoured individuals for outstanding contributions to the labour movement.

He said strong tripartism and good industrial relations have been the bedrock of Singapore's success, and will be even more important going forward as the country restructures.

The highest award, the Medal of Honour, went to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Mr Teo contributed to the labour movement's efforts for low-wage workers, endorsing the S$100-million Inclusive Growth Programme launched in 2010.

As Minister in charge of the civil service, Mr Teo also brought about changes that made re-employment more equitable for civil service officers.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, previously Manpower Minister from 2008-2011, introduced the Jobs Credit Scheme during the 2009 economic recession, which helped companies cut costs and save jobs.

Mr Gan said: "The tripartite partners were able to work together.

“We recognised the crisis and the challenges, and we were able to put aside our differences and come to a common understanding and appreciation of the situation ahead of us, and to work out the (Jobs Credit and SPUR) programmes in a very short period of time." 

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