Singapore — According to outgoing Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on jobs in Singapore would have been worse if not for the tripartite partnership in place.
Mrs Teo, who will succeed Mr S Iswaran as Minister for Communication and Information next month, gave her May Day message on Tuesday (Apr 27), The Straits Times reported.
She said that the robust partnership between the Government, unions and employers meant measures could be taken quickly to cut costs and save jobs during the pandemic.
Otherwise, the impact would have been heavier on local jobs, Ms Teo added.
The Manpower Minister especially praised the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) for “constructive unionism” as in past crises.
The NTUC successfully appealed to employers and workers to work together to keep businesses afloat and save jobs.
Ms Teo added, “Where employers have exhausted ways of cutting business costs in other areas, the unions worked with employers on necessary measures to manage excess manpower, including wage cuts necessary to avoid retrenchment.
“Employers, too, helped to preserve jobs and maintain a strong Singaporean core even if they had to restructure.”
She also made mentioned the NTUC Care Fund (Covid-19), which gave distressed union members S$300 in financial assistance.
Meanwhile, for the self-employed, the NTUC started a training fund giving an allowance to those attending training courses. It also administered the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme.
Ms Teo said, “These initiatives, together with NTUC’s ability to work closely with unions, workers, employers and the Government to implement changes quickly, helped cushion the impact of the crisis.”
“Together with employers and the Government, NTUC is building a more resilient workforce that is ready for the future,” she added.
Dr Tan See Leng will replace Ms Teo as Manpower Minister on May 15.
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