Saturday 21 September 2013

SingPost sets aside S$100m for productivity enhancements and help schemes

By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia, 19 Sep 2013

Singapore's postal agency, SingPost, has set aside nearly S$100 million to implement projects to enhance productivity, enhance the postal infrastructure and help workers improve through help schemes and upgrading programmes.

This makes SingPost the first unionised company in the NTUC infocomm and media cluster to adopt progressive work practices, which include redesigning jobs to make them easier and safer.

SingPost has also adopted the progressive wage model to attract more Singaporeans to become postmen and postwomen. Under it, the company has extended their career path with a new job grade -- the Postman Special Grade 2 -- from May.

The extended career path gives added recognition to staff with consistently good performance, and rewards them with better promotion prospects and a longer salary range.

Mr Heng Chee How, Deputy Secretary-General of NTUC, said: "What they have done now is to integrate at different levels and provide ladders for people to climb. They are not just academic ladders, they don't just ask them to go back to school to pick up a piece of paper, but they have tapped into the WSQ system as an equivalent way."

The company also has a S$10 million Inclusivity Fund to help some 3,400 workers who earn below S$2,000.

90 per cent of this fund is dedicated to help lower-waged staff to cope with rising costs through annual special recognition payments, income enhancements and retention awards.

These details were shared with leaders from the labour movement and the unionists during a learning journey to SingPost on Thursday, led by NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say.

Commenting on the achievements of SingPost, Mr Heng said: "I am happy that SingPost has made significant effort to make jobs easier, safer and smarter for its workers. It has also looked into enhancing the career ladder for postmen and postwomen to assume higher positions through the WSQ framework.

"This is an enlightened approach towards valuing every worker and helping them better their skills and competency levels. In this tight labour market, I encourage more companies in the infocomm and media sector to adopt a similar approach as it will result in mutually beneficial outcomes for both employers and workers."

Showcasing some its achievements, SingPost said it has invested in mechanisation by purchasing Ezy Trolleys to make sorting easier, safer and less strenuous for its workers. Previously, mail and bulky parcels were sorted into drop bags, which could weigh as much as 20 kilogrammes when full.

SingPost has also provided various job opportunities for Singaporeans and housewives who want to re-join the workforce.

It now hires 680 housewives in the mail delivery section and another 217 housewives in the mail processing section. This has also reduced the company's reliance on foreign workers.

Currently, SingPost hires more than 4,500 employees -- 80 per cent of whom are Singaporeans and permanent residents.

Mr Heng added: "The more you could make the playing field of employment favourable to the local jobseeker, and in a way that allows the company to look for the appropriate person to employ, then it will be win-win.

"I believe that what the MOM is looking at in developing the framework is to allow both of these ends to be met concurrently."

Nearly three million pieces of mail are delivered to Singapore homes and workplaces each day.

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