May Day awards recognise skills and productivity upgrading

May Day awards recognise skills and productivity upgrading
Madam Sng Boon Huay, 74, received a May Day Model Partnership Award yesterday for continuing to work beyond the retirement age. She has been with Mitsui High-Tec here for the past 35 years.

At age 74, Madam Sng Boon Huay still reports to work in Tuas every weekday at manufacturer Mitsui High-Tec (Singapore).

The senior operator, who has been with the company for 35 years, even does overtime shifts on weekends if needed.

"Whatever I can do, I do. Since I am still healthy, I can work," she said.

Her job is to pack recycled boxes and ensure the right packaging materials are prepared for each customer's orders. She has been on yearly re-employment contracts for the past four years, and has been receiving the company's annual attendance incentive for her attendance record.

For continuing to work beyond the retirement age, Madam Sng was honoured by the labour movement with a May Day Model Partnership Award yesterday.

A total of 62 individuals - including workers, human resource managers and supervisors - and 44 companies received awards from the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) for supporting skills and productivity upgrading in the workplace.

NTUC secretary-general Chan Chun Sing, the guest of honour at the awards ceremony, said the continued efforts of employers, supervisors, HR managers and workers allow Singapore to remain "the most competitive workforce in the world".

Employers who were lauded at the event at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East included cafe Patisserie G, which bought machines to cut food production time and make jobs easier for workers.

Another was traditional Chinese medicine centre Kin Teck Tong, which purchased two machines this year and served nearly twice as many customers in tui na, a therapeutic massage.

While it used to take staff an hour to massage customers, they now massage the customers for half an hour, and the machine takes over with treatments for half an hour.

"At first, customers were resistant, but later on they appreciated the comfort and effectiveness," said Kin Teck Tong executive director Zhang Hong Mei.

Additional sales have also allowed her to raise staff wages by 15 per cent last year, up from 2 per cent increments previously.

"We can serve more customers, so they are happy, and we are happy too," she said.

This article was first published on May 24, 2015.
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