Labour Day #OnThis Day 1 May 1960
📷: May Day Rally 2022 at D’Marquee in Downtown East
#OnThisDay (1 May) in 1960, Labour Day was gazetted as a public holiday. For many, it is an additional day off work. And, since the first day of May falls on a Monday this year, we get to enjoy the weekend a little longer.
At the inaugural May Day Rally, then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew announced that the welfare of workers would not be compromised when forging ahead with industrial expansion and nation-building. He also emphasised a symbiotic relationship between the unions, employers, and the state was crucial for Singapore’s progress.
This describes the essence of tripartism, which has made a big contribution both to our economy and to our cohesion. It is our uniquely Singaporean way of conducting cooperation-based labour relations – where the Government, employers and unions are close partners, working together for a common cause, coming up with win-win solutions across many different issues over several decades.
Annually, the Labour Movement organises the May Day Rally and a series of celebratory events in the month of May. The Labour Movement also worked with its tripartite partners on a long-term roadmap to raise the retirement and re-employment ages, and increase CPF contribution rates for older workers. These moves will support older workers who want to continue working and save more for their retirement years.
The Labour Movement has also been involved in other major projects, including the workplace fairness law to protect workers against unfair treatment and workplace discrimination in respect of the characteristics such as age, nationality, sex, marital status, race, religion, language, disability, and mental health conditions.
It also convened the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers, which was aimed at strengthening protections for platform workers in three areas of concern: (1) ensuring adequate financial protection in case of work injury; (2) improving housing; and (3) retirement adequacy, to prevent them from falling through the cracks.
This #LabourDay is a good day to reflect on this symbiotic relationship, which has seen us through many crises since Singapore’s independence: the withdrawal of British troops that threatened jobs, the 1970s oil crisis, the major recession in 1985 when workers took deep CPF cuts, the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, SARS, the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. The tripartite partnership, forged over the decades, is how we have come through uncertain times and crises in the past, and it is what we will continue to need, to remain united and successful in the future.
#EveryWorkerMatters #LabourDay #SingaporeWay