And why not, may I ask?
Factually, Chan Chun Sing is not yet heading anything. He’s merely started work as the Deputy Secretary General. In order to become the chief, Chan Chun Sing needs to undergo an NTUC election known as the “National Delegates Conference”. The selection of a new chief needs to be chosen by the NTUC Central Committee which takes years to deliberate. Further, the Secretary-General can be appointed during the term of office by the Central Committee.
Imagine scenes from a public transport strike: Traffic congestion, public transport delays, public anger…
What about a nurses’ strike: sick patients having no one to tend to them, no one to assist doctors, no one to give medicine to patients, no one to change soiled bed sheets for bed-ridden patients…
These are scenes we haven’t witnessed in our land since time immemorial, and this hasn’t come easy for us Singaporeans. Cohesive relations between workers, unions, employers, and the Government have helped to maintain the industrial peace that Singapore enjoys.
Singapore’s Labour Movement takes a cooperation-based type of relationship between employers and employees, instead of taking a confrontational stance.
Even the Leader of the Labour Party in Britain Edward Milliband said: “Personally I don’t think actually strike action is going to help… I think it inconveniences the public. I think strikes must always be the very last resort.”
Now let’s move on to the leader of the NTUC – its Secretary-General (Sec-Gen). You would know that the Sec-Gen sits in the cabinet as a minister. And you ask why.
If you take a step back and look, you’ll see that the reason why the Sec-Gen sits in the cabinet and on the central committee (highest decision-making body) of the NTUC, is that the Sec-Gen would be the best person to bring the voice of workers to the cabinet to better decide on policies.
Hence, even if the choice of the Sec-Gen is made by the Government, the work of the Sec-Gen is still to be the voice of the Labour Movement, which has always been the voice for workers.
Quoted Lim Swee Say at the announcement of the new deputy earlier, “Our push for progression of low wage workers will continue. Our work to improve the lives of Singaporean workers continue, this will not change.”
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