Wednesday 1 May 2013

PM Lee's May Day Message 2013

PM Lee urges workers to support and work with leaders for a better future
By Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel NewsAsia, 30 Apr 2013

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged workers to support leaders who care for them, and work with them to secure a better future.

In his May Day message, Mr Lee stressed that making Singapore thrive cannot depend on the government alone.

He said workers must value their jobs, and strive to upgrade and adapt, as the economy restructures. And employers too have to do their part.

Mr Lee said companies need to value workers and nurture a strong Singaporean core.

He urged employers to share the "fruits of success with their workers and the community, and strengthen the social compact".

Unions on the other hand, Mr Lee said, must help their members adjust to the new landscape, and cooperate with employers to upgrade businesses, jobs and wages.

As Singapore enters a new phase of slower economic growth, Mr Lee said the country must continue to create opportunities, develop new capabilities and improve the lives of Singaporeans.

He cited several initiatives in place to achieve this. Among them is the $5.3 billion Transition Support Package to help businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), raise productivity and rely less on foreign workers.

The Wage Credit Scheme will help businesses manage rising wage costs in a tight labour market.

And for older and low-wage workers, there's the improved Workfare scheme that will raise incomes.

Mr Lee said the government is also reviewing its social policies to give more help to seniors and the less fortunate, especially in healthcare and housing.

Mr Lee said, "The road ahead is challenging, but I am confident we will succeed. We have successfully restructured our economy before. Each transition was difficult, but each time we emerged stronger, and improved our standard of living. Our well-educated and productive workforce is one of the world's best.

"Asia is doing well, which will benefit us as long as we stay competitive. Singapore's international standing is high, both in Asia and in the developed world. We must maintain this confidence and reputation, to continue attracting investments and creating good jobs for our people. Let us work together to keep Singapore a land of opportunity and an inclusive society for many years to come."

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