The Workers’ Party Labour Day Message 2013

Every year, Labour Day serves to remind us that the economic progress we have achieved as a nation would not have been possible without our workers’ immense contributions and sacrifices. Today, we pay a special tribute to our Singaporean workers, who are well-regarded around the world for their hard work, responsibility, knowledge and skills.

For over five decades, the Workers’ Party has given our workers a voice with which they can be empowered, protected and heard. We have pointed out that job creation and economic growth must benefit Singaporeans first. We have said that the creation of more value-added jobs which will pay our workers better should be a key outcome of a successful productivity and training effort. In Parliament, our MPs have pressed the Government to ensure that companies pay their workers fairly and adequately, prevent discrimination against Singaporeans in hiring and promotion decisions, promote better work-life balance, and better track the outcomes of training programmes to ensure that they benefit workers. We have also called on the Government to provide better employment and training opportunities for older workers, retirees and homemakers. We have emphasised the need for stronger social safety nets and to reduce the widening income inequality in Singapore.

The Workers’ Party has noted that in Budget 2013, the Government has responded more positively to our calls and the needs of Singaporean workers. It has put forward more measures to improve the standing of Singaporeans in the job market and to raise the incomes of lower-wage workers through further wage subsidies, industry upgrading and training programmes for workers. More must still be done to ease the burden of the rising cost of living and to increase the wages of our workers.

We urge businesses and employers to make full use of new measures announced in this year’s Budget to improve the efficiency of their business processes and upgrade the skills of their workers. This will enable them to move up the economic value chain, boost productivity and pay their workers more. We acknowledge the challenges small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) face as our economy undergoes restructuring. We urge the Government, especially the Ministry of Manpower and economic agencies, to assist SMEs and workers through this difficult transition period.

The Workers’ Party will continue to speak up for Singaporeans and hold the Government accountable to the people in a rational, responsible and respectable manner. We are confident that the perseverance of Singaporean workers, together with the strong cooperation of the business community, will help our country to move towards a more equal and just society, and a more developed economy.

The Workers’ Party wishes all workers in Singapore a Happy Labour Day.