May Day Rally: Workers above 65 will get re-employment help from Govt, says PM

He added that the Government's aim is to amend the Retirement and Re-employment Act to help these workers, but the consultation process with unions and employers could take time, so workers should be patient.

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Here are points from PM Lee's May Day Rally 2014 Chinese speech about the Retirement and Re-employment Act:

除了建国一代配套,我们也鼓励想工作的年长工友,继续工作 Besides the Pioneer Generation Package, we are also encouraging older workers who are keen and able to work longer

a. 退休与重新雇佣法令 (RRA) 就是帮助年长工友继续工作的重要政策 Retirement and Re-employment Act (RRA) is an important legislation to help older workers continue working

b. 这项法令已经实行两年多了,让我感到欣慰的是,在这短暂的时间里,已经有多位年长工友受惠 RRA has been in effect for two years. Glad that many older workers have benefitted

c. 这项法令允许工友在达到62岁之后可以再就业,也体现了政府帮助年长员工的决心。RRA allows those who are 62 to be re-employed. It reflects our commitment to help our seniors

d. 我知道许多工友在65岁之后还要继续工作,这点我能理解 I know older workers want to work beyond 65. I fully understand

e. 政府本身已经开始这么做了。将近800名超过65岁的公务员在政府部门继续就业 The Government has started helping them do so: The Civil Service re-employs almost 800 workers above 65 years old

f. 但是,这个问题不是那么简单。工友希望保留同样的工作,一样的薪水,可是岁月不留人。到了65岁,我们的体能的确不如以前 But there is no simple solution. Older workers would like to retain their current job and pay. However, at 65, we are not as strong as before

g. 工友年轻的时候,可以在石油化工厂的梯子上爬高爬低,可是年纪大了,关节没那么灵活,爬梯子也没有以前那么容易。年轻的时候,很容易在飞机里面窄小的空间钻进钻出,进行维修工作,可是年纪大了,在那么小的空间活动,恐怕也有些困难 Young workers find it easy to climb ladders to inspect petrochemical plants. But as you get older, the knees get stiff, and it becomes harder to do so. Younger workers can squeeze into tight spaces to certify aeroplane parts, but older workers find it difficult to access the nooks and crannies

h. 因此,年长工友们要继续工作的话,劳资双方都需要作出多方面的调整,工友也要调整心态、做好心理准备,从事一些适合他们的体力的工作 Hence for older workers to continue working, employers and workers must adjust. Workers must also prepare themselves for jobs they can physically cope with

i. 与其要求“同样的工作,一样的薪金”,不如考虑“合适的工作,合理的薪金”Rather than “same job, same pay”, please be prepared to do “different jobs, different pay”

j. 政府会尽可能帮助65岁以上的工友工作下去。我们最终的目标是修改退休与重新雇佣法令,可是这个过程需要时间和雇主磋商、讨论,所以请大家耐心一点 Government will continue to help those above 65 continue working. Our ultimate objective is to amend the RRA, but this takes time. Please be patient

May Day Rally: PM Lee highlights pioneer unionists' contributions
By Amelia Tan

He said these unionists played pivotal roles in Singapore's history such as defeating pro-communist groups and opening the economy to attract foreign investments.

Here are points from PM Lee's May Day Rally 2014 speech about the Pioneer Generation:

Pioneer Generation

One special group of unionists: Pioneer Generation

Defeated the pro-Communists in the Singapore Association of Trade Unions (SATU), and enabled the NTUC to assume its leadership role

Convinced workers to abandon lose-lose confrontation, and embrace a new model of tripartite labour relations: Win-win cooperation

Rallied support for opening up our economy to foreign investments (when import substitution was the conventional wisdom), which created good jobs for workers

Worked with political leaders to set Singapore on the path to development, and changed the lives of workers permanently for the better

Many were not just unionists, but MPs and national leaders too, e.g. Devan Nair, Mahmud Awang, Ho See Beng, P Govindasamy, etc.

Some have already passed on

Glad several of our pioneers are here with us today, e.g.:

1. Tan Soon Yam (Food Drinks and Allied Workers Union - FDAWU):

- Founding member of FDAWU, and helped manage the retrenchments at the Navy, Air and Armed Forces lnstitutes (NAAFI) when the British forces withdrew in 1967

- Personally persuaded hotel workers from the pro-communist unions to join the FDAWU, which soon represented almost all the gazetted hotels in Singapore

2. Oscar Oliveiro (Union of Telecom Employees - UTES):

- Actively lobbied unions to join the NTUC after SATU broke off in 1961

- When Employment Act was passed in 1968, persuaded workers to support the Act, and understand that it would help Singapore to attract investments and create jobs

- As President of NTUC (1986-1997), led unions from 1985 recession into a decade of growth and prosperity

3. Abdul Rahman Mahbob (Union of Power and Gas Employees Union - UPAGE):

- Rose from shop steward in City Council Staff Union to founding President of UPAGE

- Rallied workers to support the corporatisation of the PUB's Electricity and Gas Departments in 1995

- Offered valuable advice and support during the long process of restructuring in gas and energy industry

4. Edwin Netto (Singapore Teachers Union)

- Retrained white collar workers from the British bases to take blue collar jobs in Jurong - foremen, supervisors

- Trained union leaders in NTUC, and helped several unions prepare cases for arbitration

Very grateful for their contributions all these years

Have myself worked with them for many years, until their retirement

Our first battle together was in 1985, when the economy went into a sharp recession. I chaired the Economic Committee and recommended to Cabinet to cut CPF contribution rates to reduce costs and restore competitiveness

Difficult and painful exercise, but they helped convince workers that it was necessary, and partnered Government to revive our economy and lead us out of the recession

They have earned their place among our pioneer unionists

Especially grateful that they have groomed a new generation of leaders to continue their good work

Right that we honour our pioneer unionists, along with other members of their Generation, especially through the PG Package

The PG Package will
i. Help pioneers with their healthcare needs
ii. Lighten the burden on their children, including many of you here today

NTUC is organising events to honour them this year

Thank you pioneers!

May Day Rally: Lim Swee Say praises ordinary workers' hard work
By Amelia Tan

Labour chief Lim Swee Say said in his May Day speech on Thursday that he would like to pay tribute to the many workers who "work round the clock, serving the people of Singapore while doing their best to provide for their families and loved ones".

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