NTUC- National Trades Union Congress. NTUC was founded 6 September 1961. Currently NTUC has 900,000 NTUC members. Current president Mary Liew. While NTUC is said to be non political its Secretary General is Ng Chee Meng- a Minister and PAP member
The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), also known as the Singapore National Trades Union Congress (SNTUC), is the sole national trade union centre in Singapore. NTUC is at the heart of the Labour Movement which comprise 58 affiliated trade unions, 2 affiliated trade associations, 10 social enterprises, 6 related organisations as well as a growing ecosystem of U Associates and enterprise partners. Together, it helms May Day celebrations and organises an annual rally in support of workers’ solidarity and commitment to tripartite partnership.
The NTUC was created in 1961 when the Singapore Trades Union Congress (STUC), which had backed the People’s Action Party (PAP) in its successful drive for self-government, split into the pro-PAP NTUC and the leftist Singapore Association of Trade Unions (SATU). The SATU collapsed in 1963 following the government’s detention of its leaders during Operation Coldstore and its subsequent official deregistration on 13 November 1963, leaving the NTUC as the sole trade union centre. Presently, over 98% of union members are in unions affiliated with the NTUC.
After the PAP’s decisive electoral victory in 1968, the government passed the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act of 1968, which severely limited workers’ rights to strike. From 1969, the NTUC adopted, in its own words, “a cooperative, rather than a confrontational policy towards employers.”
Relations between the PAP and NTUC are very close, and have often resulted in members holding office in both organisations at the same time. The NTUC’s founder, Devan Nair, was a PAP stalwart and later served as President of Singapore. Ong Teng Cheong, the first directly elected President of Singapore, was both the NTUC Secretary-General, and the Deputy Prime Minister (from 1985), until his presidential election. Lim Boon Heng and Lim Swee Say, the previous Secretaries-General, also became Cabinet ministers. As of 4 May 2015, Chan Chun Sing took over as Secretary-General from Lim Swee Say, who left the NTUC to become Minister for Manpower (with effect from the same date). Zainal Sapari is the director of NTUC Care and Share while Seah Kian Peng is the Group Chief Executive of NTUC FairPrice.
Trade unions in Singapore
Trade unions in Singapore are run along democratic lines, and membership is voluntary. Major decisions on industrial actions are taken only with majority support expressed through secret ballot.
There are three tiers of union leadership, all elected via secret ballot. Workers in a company elect their branch leaders. The next layer is the executive committee of a union. Officials from the executive committee are drawn from the branches. At the national level, there is the Central Committee of the NTUC. The 21-member Central Committee is elected every four years.
Union leaders and employers serve on key institutions such as the National Wages Council, the Economic Development Board, the Central Provident Fund and the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board. Government and employer representatives also serve on the boards of the cooperatives, business ventures and other organisations controlled by the NTUC.
NTUC Executive Committee
At union headquarters level, key branch officials represent their branches at Union Headquarters as delegates. They have a right to vote or stand as candidates in elections to the Union Executive Committee which is responsible for the effective operation of the union.
Affiliated unions are represented at the NTUC Delegates Conference, the supreme authority of the labour movement. The Delegates Conference is held once in two years. During this conference, delegates review the work of the NTUC and map out future directions for the labour movement.
NTUC Central Committee
At the national level, once in four years, the union delegates elect a 21-member NTUC Central Committee to oversee the work of the labour movement. The Central Committee members elect among themselves the Secretary-General, the President, the Secretary for Financial Affairs (Treasurer) and Vice-Presidents. The Central Committee appoints other principal office bearers.
Union leadership includes Members of Parliament. These members of parliament are subject to elections, just as the other grassroots unionists are. Many other Members of Parliament, including Cabinet ministers, serve as union advisors.
In April 2016, the total Union Membership figure in Singapore was 900,000. There are two main groups of members: Ordinary Branch (OB) members are directly represented by the unions/affiliates and enjoy direct collective bargaining rights, while General Branch (GB) members, who work in non-unionised companies, cannot be represented directly but are given workplace advice and whose employment issues are still handled professionally. NTUC also works with social enterprises like NTUC FairPrice and NTUC Link, as well as partners like NTUC Club and NTUC Healthcare to provide a range of core and lifestyle benefits for all of its members.
Since 2002, executives are also permitted to join the NTUC membership base, which was traditionally composed of rank-and-file employees. Apart from lifestyle benefits, they also enjoy some representation (if they are employed in unionised companies).
NTUC Affiliated Unions and Associations
58 Trade Unions and 2 Trade Associations are affiliated to the National Trades Union Congress. The affiliated unions can be broadly categorised under Industrial Sector, Service Sector, Public Sector Unions and Omnibus Unions.
Industrial Sector Unions
Building Construction And Timber Industries Employees’ Union (BATU)
Chemical Industries Employees’ Union (CIEU)
ExxonMobil Singapore Employees Union (EMSEU)
Keppel Employees Union (KEU)
Keppel FELS Employees’ Union (KFEU)
Metal Industries Workers’ Union (MIWU)
NatSteel Employees’ Union (NEU)
Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees’ Union (SMEEU)
Singapore Refining Company Employees’ Union (SRCEU)
Sembawang Shipyard Employees’ Union (SSEU-Sembawang)
Singapore Shell Employees’ Union (SSEU-Shell)
United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries (UWEEI)
United Workers of Petroleum Industry (UWPI)
Service Sector Unions
Air Transport Executive Staff Union (AESU)
Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union (AREU)
Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU)
DBS Staff Union (DBSSU)
Dnata Singapore Staff Union (DSSU)
Education Services Union (ESU)
Food Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU)
Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU)
National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU)
Port Officers’ Union (POU)
Reuters Local Employees’ Union, Singapore (RLEU)
Singapore Airport Terminal Services Workers’ Union (SATSWU)
Singapore Bank Employees’ Union (SBEU)
Singapore Bank Officers’ Association (SBOA)
Scoot Tigerair Staff Union (STSU)
SIA Engineering Company Engineers and Executives Union (SEEU)
Singapore Airlines Staff Union (SIASU)
Singapore Insurance Employees’ Union (SIEU)
Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU)
Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS)
Singapore Port Workers Union (SPWU)
Singapore Stevedores Union (SSU)
Singapore Technologies Electronics Employees’ Union (STEEU)
Singapore Union of Broadcasting Employees (SUBE)
Staff Union of NTUC-ARU (SUN)
Times Publishing Group Employees’ Union (TPGEU)
Union of Power and Gas Employees (UPAGE)
Union of Security Employees (USE)
Union of Telecoms Employees of Singapore (UTES)
Public Sector Unions
Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers (AUPDRW)
Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE)
Amalgamated Union of Statutory Board Employees (AUSBE)
Housing and Development Board Staff Union (HDBSU)
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore Staff Union (IRASSU)
Ngee Ann Polytechnic Academic Staff Union (NPASU)
Public Utilities Board Employees’ Union (PUBEU)
Singapore Chinese Teachers’ Union (SCTU)
Singapore Interpreters’ and Translators’ Union (SITU)
Singapore Malay Teachers’ Union (SMTU)
SPRING Singapore Staff Union (SSSU)
Singapore Tamil Teachers’ Union (STTU)
Singapore Teachers’ Union (STU)
Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority Workers’ Union (SURAWU)
Union of ITE Training Staff (UITS)
Singapore Industrial & Services Employees’ Union (SISEU)
The Singapore Manual & Mercantile Workers’ Union (SMMWU)
National Taxi Association (NTA)
National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA)
NTUC Social Enterprises
The objectives of NTUC Social Enterprises are:
to help stabilise prices of basic commodities and services
to strengthen and protect the purchasing power of workers
to allow union leaders to gain management experience, and to understand the problems faced by management, thus helping to promote better labour-management relations
NTUC Enterprise is the holding entity and single largest shareholder of the NTUC social enterprises.
The list of social enterprises includes:
NTUC First Campus
U Family is an initiative of NTUC, handled by NTUC’s Family Development Unit. It is a community made up of NTUC and non-NTUC members. Based on the community’s programmes, the community is relevant to families with children below the age of 12.
The objective of the U Family community is to build “strong and happy families” in Singapore through the development of family-focused initiatives and programmes to strengthen family bonds and support working families with the advocacy of pro-family practices in the work place.
The community was formed in July 2006, under the name of Mummy and Me. Made up of mostly mothers, the community grew to 9,000 members at the end of 2007. In May 2008, the community changed its name to U Family to be inclusive of fathers and other members of the family.
In September 2010, the community claimed to have more than 210,000 members in its outreach base.
The community is engaged through online platforms and events.
Communication to the members is via the U Family website and its e-newsletters, which go to members monthly.
The U Family website is part of the NTUC website. It houses content that is related to parenting and family life, such as family activities, parenting articles and contests.
The U Family community Facebook profile counted 2189 “friends” on 6 October 2009. The community shares photos and videos of events through the Facebook platform.
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