SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has paid tribute to the late unionist Cyrille Tan in a condolence letter to his wife, Joanna.
Mr Tan died on Nov 10. He was 67.
In a letter dated Nov 13, Mr Lee noted that the former Nominated Member of Parliament dedicated his life to serving the labour movement and the nation.
Mr Tan, who started his journey as a unionist in 1981, had served as General Secretary of the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries (UWEEI) for 22 years.
He was elected to the National Trades Union Congress' (NTUC) Central Committee, where he served as secretary for financial affairs and later as vice president.
Mr Lee, who was adviser to UWEEI, said: "I learnt much by observing his astute management of union affairs. UWEEI was not a simple organisation. It has 125 branches, and represents workers in an industry which is prone to cyclical ups and downs.
"But the unionists and members trusted him to protect and advance their interests. He was thus able to lead UWEEI through some difficult times, including the Asian financial crisis in 1998."
The Prime Minister added that he had many discussions with Mr Tan on labour issues, such as the National Wage Council's recommendations, skills upgrading and CPF revisions.
“He knew what the workers needed, had a shrewd assessment of how policies would be received by workers, and also appreciated the broader national picture. He was therefore able to work closely with the workers and the Government, advance workers' interests and help carry through policies that benefited workers.”
Mr Tan, who was appointed Nominated Member of Parliament from 1997-1999, continued to advocate for the labour movement, and pushed hard for unions to broaden their representation to include managers and executives, Mr Lee said.
“Brother Cyrille touched the lives of many, and has left a permanent mark as a unionist and tripartite partner. His passing is a deep loss to the labour movement and the nation.”