SINGAPORE: In his final May Day address to unionists, outgoing labour chief Chan Chun Sing emphasised the Labour Movement's mandate to remain "representative and relevant".
"For the Labour Movement going forward, we will still abide by the two words that galvanise us. We want to stay representative to represent the broad middle of the entire Singapore workforce. We want to stay relevant. They are mutually enforcing," Mr Chan said on Tuesday (May 1).
After three years with the National Trades Union Congress, Mr Chan - who assumes his new portfolio as Minister of Trade and Industry on Tuesday - is returning to the Government.
In terms of staying representative, Mr Chan said that the NTUC has made significant strides in growing its representation of workers, regardless of their work.
He announced the formation of a new supply chain union led by ST Logistics and added that the Labour Movement will continue to start new unions in new sectors such as the infocomm technology and finance sectors.
"The aim is very simple: Continue to broaden our outreach not just in terms of numbers but in terms of the sectors that are represented in our economy. So when we discuss the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) with the government agencies, with the business sectors, all of us are represented. All of us know the concerns of our people," he told unionists.
Training and reskilling of workers will also be the key focus for the Labour Movement going forward, especially with a new S$200 million raised for the NTUC Education and Training Fund.
Apart from providing the conventional 3 Ps of protection, privileges and work placement that most labour unions around the world provide, the Labour Movement must go one step further to add a fourth P - progression.
"These three Ps are important and still must be done but we must add into our skill set a fourth P, progression. Helping our workers ahead of time to make sure they stay relevant because we firmly believe that the best welfare for our workers is a good job. A good job that they are ready ahead of time," Mr Chan said.
That is why NTUC must be a "three-pin plug" that can work with the Ministry of Manpower, the Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the Ministry of Education to "prepare people for tomorrow's jobs with tomorrow's skills".