NTUC, SNEF call for transition support package for retrenched workers

NTUC, SNEF call for transition support package for retrenched workers

SINGAPORE: Two recent polls conducted by the labour movement show that workers here are fearing for their jobs, spurring more calls for a transition support package for retrenched employees.

In the first survey involving nearly 2,000 Singaporeans and conducted by the National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC) between December last year and January, 40 per cent of respondents felt they were likely to lose their jobs in the next three months, up from the 25 per cent in the same period last year.

In a separate NTUC poll on sentiments ahead of this year’s Budget speech, 31 per cent of 185 workers believed structural trends like automation and artificial intelligence will displace them.

This comes as the National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) expect more layoffs this year. 

At the inaugural annual pre-Budget media briefing that the two groups hosted on Tuesday (Feb 6), they said that displaced workers should be supported in landing new jobs.

Retrenchments in Singapore in 2023 were more than double that of the year before, according to advance labour market estimates released by the Manpower Ministry last week. 

NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng noted that it will be a tough year for workers. 

“Given the lingering pressures of the cost of living, some of these workers’ anxieties, I can fully understand. So in the year ahead, we hope that we can take some proactive action, especially in the Budget, to support workers,” he said.

“Especially if they are displaced, how can we think about a transition support package either in finances or upskilling, reskilling … for persons seeking new opportunities in a more challenging work environment?”

SNEF president Robert Yap stressed that people are Singapore’s most important resource.

“If we don’t maximise that, we don’t cultivate them to the fullest potential, then we’re not doing ourselves justice. It’ll be very hard for us to compete on the international stage,” he said.