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NTUC deputy secretary-general Chee Hong Tat to return to Government full-time, Desmond Tan to join labour movement

NTUC deputy secretary-general Chee Hong Tat to return to Government full-time, Desmond Tan to join labour movement

Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat (left) and Minister of State Desmond Tan (right). (Photos: People's Action Party)

SINGAPORE: National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Chee Hong Tat will relinquish his role next Monday (Jun 13) and return full time to government service.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote to NTUC president Mary Liew on Jun 2 requesting that Mr Chee return to the Government full time, and offered Minister of State Desmond Tan to serve the labour movement, NTUC said on Monday.

The NTUC Central Committee met on Jun 3 and accepted Mr Lee's request for Mr Chee to be released back to the Government. Mr Chee tendered his resignation to Ms Liew, and it was accepted.

As part of a Cabinet reshuffle announced by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Monday, Mr Chee will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance on Jun 13, as well as continue in the Ministry of Transport.

Mr Tan will be appointed Minister of State in the PMO on the same day.


The NTUC Central Committee praised Mr Chee for his "commendable efforts in uplifting workers" through his chairmanship of the NTUC Training Executive Committee, where he oversaw NTUC’s training and transformation work such as Company Training Committees (CTC) and the Job Security Council.

"He was also responsible for initiatives such as the Operation and Technology Roadmaps to help companies transform their workplaces. As of May 1, NTUC has formed more than 900 CTCs across various sectors and is on track to cross the 1,000 mark this year," said NTUC.

As a member of the Tripartite Workgroup for Lower-Wage Workers, Mr Chee pushed for wage improvements and actively championed the progressive wage model for lift and escalator workers, it added.

He also "energetically supported" the work of unions such as the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union and Union of Power and Gas Employees as their adviser, and as executive secretary for the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Chee "strongly supported the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen" for the vaccination of workers in the maritime sector, in order to minimise disruption to the global supply chain. 

"The NTUC Central Committee looks forward to working with (Mr Chee) in his new capacity and is confident that he will continue to further the interest of workers," it said.

In a Facebook post, Mr Chee said of his time at NTUC: "It has been enriching and heart-warming to see how our labour movement champions for workers and improves their chances of having better welfare, better wages and better work prospects."

He added that he looks forward to working with his colleagues at the Ministry of Finance.


The NTUC Central Committee said it has accepted Mr Lee's recommendation for Mr Tan to serve in the labour movement. The official appointment is slated to take place at a later date, it said as it welcomed Mr Tan to the labour movement.

"Mr Tan is adviser to the Supply Chain Employees’ Union. In his capacity as Minister of State for Home Affairs, he had partnered the Union of Security Employees in furthering the progressive wage model for the security sector," said NTUC.

"When he was the chief executive director at the Peoples’ Association (PA), he supported the collaboration between PA and NTUC Enterprise Co-operative Limited to create the Good Start Bundle, a key component of PA’s Embracing Parenthood Movement."

In Mr Lee's letter to Ms Liew, he wrote: "In these uncertain times, NTUC's role in the tripartite partnership and nation building is more crucial than ever."

As such, Mr Lee said that Mr Tan will be appointed Minister of State in the PMO, and that he will "relieve (Mr Tan) of his appointments and duties in other ministries".

Mr Tan is currently Minister of State for Home Affairs and for Sustainability and the Environment.

"This way, he can spend most of his time on NTUC work, and more fully support the NTUC secretary-general and the labour movement in our efforts to secure the livelihoods and future of our workers," added Mr Lee.

Source: CNA/gy(mi)


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