Saturday, 28 April 2012

May Day Message 2012 by DPM Tharman

Singapore's main focus is to build a better future for Singaporeans
Channel NewsAsia, 26 Apr 2012

Singapore's main focus is on the longer-term challenge of building a better future for its people, Deputy Prime Minister and Manpower Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in his May Day message on Thursday.

He said everything the government does is aimed at achieving inclusive growth which benefits all Singaporean workers.

Mr Tharman added that the government is working with small- and medium-sized enterprises to help them to upgrade their operations and stay competitive in a tight labour market.

As for lower-wage workers, they can tap on the Workfare Income Supplement and Workfare Training Support schemes, which encourage them to find regular work and help them progress through training and skills upgrading.

Tripartite partners are also urged to promote best sourcing as many lower-wage workers are employed in industries where outsourcing is common, such as the cleaning and security industries.

Mr Tharman said service buyers must outsource responsibly, so that service providers are focused on service quality and productivity, and on improving employment conditions and wages for their workers.

The government, as a major service buyer, will lead by example in best sourcing practices by procuring only from accredited cleaning companies and well-graded security agencies.

The government will also closely monitor and study the impact of the Retirement and Re-employment Act that came into effect in January this year as well as the Special Employment Credit.

Mr Tharman said that Singapore must stay open to expertise from around the world and enable companies to have the diverse teams that allow them to remain competitive.

But at the same time, Singapore must do its utmost to maximize every Singaporean's potential, and develop local capabilities that give Singapore its sustainable advantage.

The President of the Singapore National Employers Federation, Stephen Lee, echoed the sentiments, urging businesses and workers to press on with efforts to raise productivity.

This is especially crucial, with Singapore's GDP expected to moderate to between one and three per cent this year, he said.

Mr Lee elaborated: "Raising productivity really requires perseverance and a long-term sustained effort and this is the right answer to the current economic conditions."

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