While many countries experienced strikes and stoppages at the height of the pandemic, Singapore’s tripartite partners worked in unison and came through the last two years without the need for excessive regulation or litigation, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng.
In his May Day message published on Apr 27, 2022, he added that tripartism is unique and exceptional to Singapore and we must treasure this model.
Indeed, tripartism is and will continue to be an important way to protect workers and improve prospects. With tripartism front and centre in his May Day message, it’s little wonder the words “tripartite” and “tripartism” appeared a total of 19 times.
1. Strong tripartite effort in fight against Covid-19.
3. The National Wages Council convened four times in two years to provide timely guidance to businesses. In October 2020, when there was significant slack in the labour market and mounting pressure on employers to retrench, the tripartite partners agreed to issue supplementary guidelines for employers to implement temporary wage cuts to the extent necessary to minimise retrenchments.
4. Special acknowledgement to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), who rallied workers as a key member of the Council. In the latest round of guidelines issued in October 2021, recognising that our economy and labour market have been steadily recovering, tripartite partners have also called for easing of the exceptional wage policies introduced earlier.
5. The tripartite partners and in particular the Labour Movement, will continue to lead the way in helping workers adapt to these workplace transformations.
7. In this decade, we will be working together to implement the recommendations of the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers, by expanding Progressive Wages to more sectors and occupations to cover up to 9 in 10 lower-wage workers.
8, 9, 10. The tripartite partners are also committed to strengthening fairness at the workplace. The Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness is working on enshrining the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices in law.
11, 12, 13. Globally, we see a shift in employer and employee preferences for Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA). This is why the tripartite partners will continue our efforts to support employers and workers to transition to such new modes of work. Together, we have committed to raise the adoption of the Tripartite Standard on FWA to cover at least 4 in 10 workers by end of this year. We are developing a set of Tripartite Guidelines that will set norms and practices for FWA.
14. Tripartism key to Singapore’s growth.
15. Looking back over the past two years, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), NTUC and Singapore National Employers Federation’s collaborative efforts in managing the impact of Covid-19 certainly reaffirms the importance of tripartism.
17. It behoves us as tripartite partners to sustain this spirit of collaboration and trust in the years and decades ahead.
18. The fact that employers and workers have come through the last two years of COVID-19 without the need for excessive regulation or litigation, but with a sense of unity and cohesion, should give us even greater confidence that our tripartite approach works well.
19. As the Labour Movement expands its membership base and works towards its target of 1.5 million members by 2030, we can look forward to further entrenching the spirit of tripartism in our economy.