SINGAPORE must stay the course on its restructuring journey, even though it may not be a painless or instant one, labour chief Lim Swee Say said.
“I firmly believe that we are heading in the right direction,” he said.
Even though there is still much work to be done in some sectors, such as construction and retail, the move towards productivity improvement and innovation is gaining momentum, added Lim, who is secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress.
To improve, the jobs that are created must be above the national average in terms of productivity and the value they add.
At the first of the labour movement’s National Day observance ceremonies, held at The Promontory @ Marina Bay, he told reporters: “Our business cost and wage cost are going up, so we are becoming a higher-cost location for doing business. But being a higher-cost location does not mean being a high-cost location.”
Speaking to an audience of 7,000 workers and their family members who had gathered for a picnic, Lim also said that Singapore needs to keep one step ahead of the competition by doing things other people cannot do, so that the profitability for businesses and the wages of workers can continue to improve.
Separately, in his written National Day message to unionists, Lim said that a higher re-employment age for older workers and a more progressive wage ladder for low-wage workers will make Singapore’s labour situation even better.
Under the Retirement and Re-employment Act, which kicked in in 2012, bosses must offer healthy workers who have performed satisfactorily re-employment from the ages of 62 to 65, or a one-off payment.
But calls have been made to raise the ceiling to 67, and a tripartite committee is discussing when and how to do so. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network