Strikes are counter productive…

 

Wanna know why Singapore doesn’t encourage the use of strikes? (Many people think we can’t, but we totally can).

So here we see the Service Employees International Union pull a strike to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

minimum-15

Do you think they’ll get their way?

Well – if you push employers into a corner, they will find ways to fight back. In this case, they did – to replace people with machines.

A company called “Momentum Machines” has built a robot that could slice tomatoes, picked and place each single slice onto a burger. Being more consistent, more sanitary and complains less than a human worker, and capable of producing 360 hamburgers per hour, the robot will be set to completely replace fast food workers.

Although Singapore faces a shortage of labour and this machine would be welcome, the last thing you want to see is employers simply terminating workers and replacing them with an equally low-waged operator.

What we want is for man and machine to work together, delivering value for the business. We want companies to use manpower well, equip the worker with training, creativity and ideas. This would create for better, well paying jobs out of the possibilities that technology can give.

Rather than have unions that flex muscle for the sake of increasing membership, a truly thoughtful union considers the economy at large: because in our capitalist society, no jobs= no money.

When asked to describe on NTUC’s direction for Singaporean workers, the Secretary General Lim Swee Say was quoted to have said “A job is the best welfare, employment is the best protection. Make every job a better job, every worker a better worker.”

The man was also quoted to have said something along the lines of “…it is better for unions who don’t strike and get its way, rather than strike and don’t get its way.”

In our modern days, it is not good to protest for the sake of publicity, it will do our economy no good to strike for the sake of membership. Singaporean salaries have been increasing over the years, and honestly – if it is not broken, don’t fix it.

 

 

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About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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