The following is a reply by “unionist” in rebuttal to an offensive letter published by The Real Singapore:
I have been a unionist for over 30 years and I find your post with regards to Lim Swee Say very offensive. Normally I would ignore bullshit like yours, but I will not keep quite and let anyone throw stones at the work of my comrades and union leader.
You talk about boycotting and strikes like a teenager who just learnt what the word is. Do you actually even know the implication of all of it?
Did you know that 98% of union contracts in the US are settled each year without a strike? You don’t don’t you?
Have you heard of what Margaret Tatcher did to the striking unions who’s aim were only self-serving? Go read up about it.
Have you read about how militant unions destroyed more jobs than they did raise salary?
So you say that the work of my fellow unionists amount to nothing? Do you know how many closed door sessions, how many disagreements, how many disappointments, how many court actions have taken place? Do you know the blood, tears and sweat that have gone into the peaceful negotiation of our workers? You don’t, of course you don’t. You sit at your keyboard thinking you know a lot, but you don’t.
Did you know how much the NTUC has put into lobbying for the Fair Consideration’s framework? Of course you don’t – you brushed it off by saying they didn’t do anything. Go do a quick Google search.
Do you know that the NTUC is not against minimum wage and even has a component of it in the Progressive Wage Model? Of course you don’t.
We have raised salaries of low wage workers, pushing them up to over $1000 – all this is realised in a multitude of industries. Go read up about it.
Do you know the collective efforts of all 700k+ members, union leaders, social enterprises, institutes and learning bodies? No you don’t.
Is the NTUC the only union body that is politically affiliated? No it’s not – but do you know that? No you don’t.
Who is a union leader? He or she is merely an ordinary person who actually wants to do more for Singaporeans and has put real work into it – facing up to business owners, CEOs, HR Managers to demand for better conditions for our workers. All this is documented in the Government Gazette. All this is documented in online and offline media.
Do you know all this? No you don’t – and we don’t expect you to. But you will be a benefactor of all of this work.
Will you appreciate it? No you won’t. But it doesn’t matter. It is the Singaporean at large that matters.
But before you shoot your fingers off typing offensive, low IQ op-eds – do yourself and the rest of society a favour: Google it. And actually think it through first before ranting like a teenager.
The following is the rant by the original contributor at The Real Singapore (TRS):
USELESS BUMS AT NTUC
Recruitment discrimination, stagnant wages, unfair HR practices, unattractive contract jobs, discrimination against elderly, NS men and pregnant women – all these are happening under the watch of the only official trade union, NTUC. What has NTUC done so far then to churn out nonsense like “increase productivity to increase wages”? They have been standing too long in the employers’ shoes partaking in the exploitation of employees. Their silence on the recent discriminatory hiring advertisements of La Fondue and Randstad is embarrassing. Transitioning.org and The Real Singapore have instead become the voices of Singaporean workers, doing a union’s work but getting paid nothing while the fat useless cat NTUC gets government funding every year and chart record profit along with its corporate arms.
It is bad enough these useless bums at NTUC have done nothing, the union sings to the tune of the government and employers. They couldn’t see that a decent and fair wage for a standard of living is crucial to a quality workforce. When NTUC chief Lim Swee Say speaks about increasing productivity for better wages in the name of progressive wages, he failed to acknowledge that the lower strata of the wage spectrum isn’t enough for a modest living. We are talking about $800 a month in the world’s costliest country with no suburbs to fall back on.
Never mind the useless NTUC chief, what about its actual union work? The NTUC is not doing anything for the people it is supposed to represent. Take taxi drivers for example, the NTUC arm National Taxi Association couldn’t even manage a whimper when the government enacts regulations to force each driver to drive at least 250km a day. Taxi drivers pay rent, they are not your employees, they are self-employed, why have such quotas when they can pay rent?
What about the Fair Consideration Framework by the Ministry of Manpower? Shouldn’t the union be the one coming up with hiring guidelines from a job seeker’s point of view? Or have the NTUC not receive a single feedback from job seekers screaming “discrimination” in both the mainstream media and online? The problem with NTUC is just like our Public Assistance, they are passive and do not actively look for people who need help, and work only when they are approached to.
Then we have the abuse of NTUC unions to lobby for political interests. 3 out of 4 NTUC-linked unions supported PAP-endorsed Presidential candidate Tony Tan during PE2011. And every election, we can see NTUC unionists standing for elections under the PAP. This is unbecoming, unions are supposed to be apolitical and not be used like a prostitute and an election candidate pool to be deployed by a political party.
Now that we can all ascertain NTUC is good for nothing as a union, what is stopping us from creating private unions? The PAP of course. Like most problems, the PAP is standing in the way for many initiatives no matter how much we want to avoid. How do we organize strikes and protests against employers like La Fondue, SMRT or Randstad? The fact remains we can’t, and this is also why employees will continue to be oppressed. The lack of a functioning union is good enough a reason for me to leave Singapore. If I am still poor when I’m old, at least I know I will be getting a fair wage, not like the elderly Singaporeans working as cleaners in Singapore. Strong unions like those in Australia can insure me I will not be paid a slave wage. Better a second class citizen elsewhere than a third class citizen in Singapore.