Singapore— The task force on professionals, managers and executives (PME) is considering whether certain jobs should be reserved for Singaporeans, said NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng on Thursday (Apr 29). But lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean accused him of being “always behind the curve!”
In a Facebook post, Mr Lim, the head of the People’s Voice (PV) party, said the talk about ring-fencing certain PME jobs such as human resources (HR) for Singaporeans shows “how out of step this NTUC Sec-Gen is with the majority of Singapore workers whom his Union claims to represent.”
He claimed that PV has been calling for prioritising Singaporean workers for HR jobs for some time now.
A report in The Straits Times (ST) said that Mr Ng gave an update regarding the progress of the PME Taskforce headed by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).
The task force’s goal is to put together recommendations on how to support PMEs and submit it to the Government by the end of 2021.
“Since the formation of the PME Taskforce in October 2020, we have been close to the ground in engaging our PMEs. Through these engagement and feedback sessions, we now have a better and deeper understanding on the concerns and issues close to their heart, such as the lack of job security, employment and career progression opportunities,” wrote Mr Ng in an Apr 29 Facebook post.
The NTUC head said that some PMEs suggested “ring-fencing” specific jobs such as those in HR, as this would let local PMEs “have the first call.”
Mr Ng added that the NTUC will “look seriously into how we can actually refine the thinking and suggest, maybe in time to come, certain possibilities of protecting Singaporean PME jobs where we have the skills,” ST reported.
But this needs to be carried out very carefully, he warned, saying that the right balance must be struck.
“We have to be very, very selective and careful to make sure that we do not deprive ourselves of the best talents that can bring value to Singapore, but at the same time, take care of our local teams. That balance is a difficult one, but nevertheless, we need to try to do it.”
Responding to this, Mr Lim said that his party has “been at the forefront of the campaign to have HR positions filled only by Singaporeans”.
“We listened to Singaporeans on the ground who told us that foreign HR managers were favouring the hire of their own people over indigenous Singaporeans,” he said.
Mr Lim called this “A totally unacceptable position which this government has done nothing to redress!”
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