Labour Chief Chan Chun Sing mentioned during the recent May Day Rally about the Unusual Labour Movement and how the labour movement is extending its reach beyond rank-and-file workers.
This includes freelance and self-employed individuals in the workforce.
Just today, the NTUC announced that industry association has been formed to represent Private Hire Drivers, and to protect their interests.
The National Private Hire Vehicles Association was registered under the Registry of Societies (ROS) on 3 May 2016 by the NTUC Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit.
Coincidentally, Singapore is the third city to form an association for Uber drivers, after New York City and Seattle.
Here are three things you need to know about the association:
1. Why an association?
There are an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 full-time private hire drivers in Singapore today. They include drivers from key industry players like Uber and Grab, as well as those who provide traditional private limousine and other chauffeured services.
There were common concerns which surfaced through the initial interactions the NTUC had with the private hire drivers. They include:
- safeguarding of their livelihoods
- workplace protection
2. What next?
The NTUC helped to form the Pro-tem Committee comprising of drivers from Grab, Uber, Combi Bus and private limousine services.
The next key step according to NTUC Director (Strategy) of NTUC Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit, S. Thiagarajan, is to grow the association through NPHVA’s recruitment efforts to encourage more private hire drivers to join the association. This allows the association to be a strong and representative one.
Following that, members of the executive committee will have to be elected.
3. How will the association help the drivers?
To help the drivers, the NPHVA will engage the industry stakeholders and the Ministry of Transport to move towards a long-term hoal of ensuring the drivers provide high service standards to commuters, are able to compete fairly, and are assured of a sustainable livelihood.
According to the Pro-tem Committee Secretary Shawn Ng, the industry is evolving and having an association is necessary for private hire drivers like him to collectively have a voice for the industry for the welfare and interests of private hire drivers.
One of the concerns raised to authorities by the NPHVA is that of the Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence.
The training hours under the vocational license would mean that drivers have to take time out of their schedule to undertake the course, resulting in a loss of income.
Through the association, the private hire vehicle drivers can also make full use of the NTUC’s expanded suite of services for their own career advancement and upgrading.