NTUC: Employers who endanger workers' health must be investigated

The Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee led by Dr Ng Eng Hen visits Punggol Waterway Terraces I construction site to speak to workers on the ground, and also the Changi Airport baggage handling area at Terminal 3. With him are ministers Tan Chuan Jin, Heng Chee How, and at the airport Lui Tuck Yew.

SINGAPORE - This afternoon, NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Heng Chee How visited a construction site and Changi Airport to speak with workers and employers given the current haze situation.

He was accompanying Dr Ng Eng Hen, Defence Minister and Chairman of the Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee, and other ministers including Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.

This was followed by a joint media conference, at which Mr Heng spoke on the following points.

Mr Heng reiterated the Labour Movement's stand that workers' safety and health must be protected appropriately.

He added that NTUC supports the Ministry of Manpower's position that employers who endanger the health and safety of their workers, whether in haze conditions or other situations, must be exposed, reported and investigated.

Where there is evidence of foul play, such employers must be taken to task, he stressed.

Hence, NTUC and several of its industry-based affiliated unions - for example the Building, Construction and Timber Workers' Union - have issued advisories.

Unions are also using these advisories to work directly and closely with management of unionised companies on haze management and response plans appropriate to the nature of work.

NTUC is compiling the good practices from unionised companies for sharing across unions.

Dr Heng said that that hazy conditions are expected to linger for months, and may recur.

The Labour Movement therefore supports the Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee's (HIMC) efforts to have plans and measures in place as soon as possible to guide Singapore on how best to live and work as normally as possible.

Mr Heng said that plans to enable essential services to continue even in extreme haze conditions must be given priority, together with how this can be done with utmost protection of their workers' health and safety.