May Day Rally: S’pore must build on post-pandemic momentum to transform financial system, says PM Lee

SINGAPORE – The Republic must build on the momentum from the Covid-19 pandemic and proceed to transform the financial system, stated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (May 1) on the May Day Rally.

Singapore has to preserve its eyes open for brand spanking new alternatives, press on with transformation efforts and strengthen its resilience for the long run, stated PM Lee, addressing about 900 unionists gathered at Downtown East and one other 1,000 attending just about.

He added that moreover contributing concepts, the labour motion has been deeply concerned in reworking and upgrading the financial system, and enhancing the productiveness of companies and staff.

Economic transformation doesn’t simply rely on having the precise nationwide insurance policies, he stated. To make it occur, each enterprise and each employee wants to take some time in enterprise transformation and upskilling.

“The two of them must go hand in hand, so that when new jobs are created, workers are equipped to take them up. When there is technology and progress, workers are not displaced,” stated PM Lee.

“We have been pushing hard – digitalisation, automation, upskilling and training – every May Day we talk about it for years now. But I am glad we did that, because when the pandemic forced the pace, our businesses and workers were not caught by surprise.”

In his speech, he gave a number of examples of corporations pivoting and adapting to seize new alternatives.

One of them is precision engineering agency Certact Engineering, whose principal enterprise used to be producing steel components for semiconductor producers.

Its managing director Ellis Eng stated that two years in the past, the corporate already felt it was shedding market competitiveness and wanted to pivot.

It noticed a possibility to develop its small plastics engineering arm – which was seeing excessive demand amid the pandemic, notably to manufacture plastic components for medical tools reminiscent of ventilators – but it surely wanted assist to make this main transfer, stated PM Lee.

Certact then determined to be part of the National Trades Union Congress’ Company Training Committee initiative and labored carefully with the Advanced Manufacturing Employees’ Union to map out the modifications earlier than taking the plunge.

PM Lee stated: “Business has since doubled, and the company continues to expand and employ more staff. I hope more companies will follow Certact’s example.”

Another instance was recycling and waste administration firm Wah & Hua, which struggled to rent overseas staff throughout the pandemic.

Its chief government Melissa Tan then determined to rebrand the sector by investing in sensible rubbish vehicles from Germany which have photo voltaic mats on the roof and mud filters to clear the air. These efforts had been a part of the corporate’s operation and know-how highway map developed with NTUC.

“The trucks and the devices are operated by truck captains – it’s a small change of title, but a meaningful gesture to recognise their skills, and instil pride in themselves,” stated PM Lee.

The third instance was conventional Chinese medication supplier Oriental Remedies Group, which wished to appeal to and retain extra feminine workers in a historically male-dominated enterprise.

Its chief government Beatrice Liu partnered NTUC’s small and medium-sized enterprises arm, U SME, to implement office insurance policies to cut back gender discrimination and harassment, made versatile working hours the default association, and redesigned job scopes to help working moms.

Today, 70 per cent of the corporate’s workforce is feminine, and its revenues have grown virtually seven occasions over the past two years, famous PM Lee.

The three examples show alternative ways to realise enterprise transformation, he added.

“Companies with worker-centric practices will do well in the future labour market,” PM Lee stated.

“We need to maximise the potential of our domestic labour force. Our resident population is hardly growing, our workforce is ageing, the economy is generating more jobs than we have workers for… Labour will be a permanent constraint for Singapore,” he added.

The upcoming tripartite tips on versatile work preparations will assist Singapore reply to these traits, stated PM Lee.

He added: “If we will implement versatile preparations effectively, then extra individuals, particularly moms and caregivers, can be ready to proceed working, or to come again to work after their infants are a bit older, and to obtain work-life concord.

“We should see other benefits also, like less peak-hour travel and congestion. And maybe – a little boost to our total fertility rate.”

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