10 achievements of Lim Swee Say

Now that Mr Lim Swee Say has tendered his resignation from the NTUC Central Committee, let’s take a look back at 10 things he has contributed to the labour movement:


1.) Productivity

Since stepping into the labour movement, Lim has said much about productivity. And in the last few years, he reiterated that Singapore needs “a greater and broader sense of urgency” in its productivity drive.


2.) Wages

In pushing the Progressive Wage Model, he said that wage increases should be linked to productivity increases to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of a company over the long term.


3.) Jobs

He coined terms such as, “Better, Betterer, Betterest”, “Easier, Smarter, Safer” in order to get employers to redesign jobs to make the lives of workers better, betterer, betterest. He started the NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) to help workers remain employed in jobs through training and job placement.


4.) Skills

He emphasised a lot on the deepening of skills  in order that workers can remain employable. When the SkillsFuture initiatives were launched at this year’s Budget, he said he hoped that the training can help Singaporeans become better engaged and happier workers.


5.) Re-employment

Lim pushed for companies to re-employ mature workers past 62 under the Retirement and Re-employment Act to keep them employed in order that they have more for their retirement savings. He said that a higher re-employment age and a more progressive wage ladder are among ways to augment Singapore’s workforce.


6.) PMEs

With the growing number of PMEs (Professionals, Managers and Executives) in the workforce, the NTUC under the leadership of Lim pushed for changes in the legislation to cover PMEs. And the NTUC took steps to address the development and employment needs of the PMEs in order for the labour movement to be inclusive and reflective of today’s workforce.


7.) Freelancers

Freelance professionals often face challenges in the form of delayed payment for their services, less legal rights compared to employees and loss of rights to intellectual and confidential property. In 2013, Lim announced that the NTUC will explore how the interests of freelance professionals can be better looked after.

lim swee say

8.) Cheaper, Better, Faster

In 2010, Lim coined the term to illustrate that “what the NTUC and tripartite partners are calling for, is to pursue ‘Cheaper, Better, Faster’ products and services, pursue a ‘Cheaper, Better, Faster’ economy, not a ‘Cheaper, Better, Faster’ workforce.””


9.) Low-wage workers

Championing the cause of Low-wage workers, Lim pushed for companies to implement the Progressive Wage Model to help improve the lives of the low-income earners. And he also pushed for job redesign to allow low wage workers to work faster and better in order to earn more.


10.) e2i

NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) is a hallmark of Lim’s stint as Secretary-General of NTUC.

He started the e2i in 2008 as a one-stop portal to offer job matching and training services for workers who are looking for jobs and training opportunities.


While he officially steps down from the labour movement on 4 May, a few days after his last May Day Rally, he says in his resignation letter that “I am flowing-on but never flowing-out”, and assures that he will always support the cause of the labour movement.


NTUC President Ms Diana Chia in her acceptance letter agreed and said, “You will always be a part of our Labour Movement family.  We wish you well in your future appointments.”





  1. Hi, I am a 57yr old PME working for a local sales company for >2 years now. Over this period the company recruited 1 French Vice President, 1 Dutch designer and currently applying for EP for a Canadian Communication Manager. They are paid well above the norms and yet not contributing much to the company. For a only local employee like me I was recruited as a Business Development Manager and yet made to take care of the whole company operations such as admin, HR,Store/Inventory,Acc,etc.. Ironically the business is owned by local Singaporean. Also strangely, the dutch designer employment permit was rejected by Malaysia a couple of times and when he comes over this year, his EP was approved! will be more than happy to share if I am guaranteed that what I provide is kept confidential and my identity not revealed. Sorry not sure whether this is Mr.Lim Swee Say website but I thought he should know as he talks about building a Singapore core employee.

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