One Labour MP says more support is needed by certain industries in redesigning jobs and investments in productivity initiatives
According to the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) director for industrial relations field and MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Melvin Yong, certain industries such as retail, F&B, and construction “need to redesign their jobs and to invest in productivity initiatives” in order to boost productivity.
These three sectors are especially vulnerable, he said, because of stiff competition from e-commerce and a tightened foreign manpower quota.
In light of the upcoming Budget talks, NTUC proposed that “existing schemes which enable companies to introduce innovative practices to grow productivity, such as the Capability Development Grant, should be tied to wage increases and upskilling opportunities for workers,” according to a report by TODAYOnline.
He added that this will not only ensure that the company benefits from productivity gains but the employees as well.
He cited the manufacturing sector that has seen ‘double digit growth’ when more companies embraced automated operations to boost productivity and retrained their workers to utilise their manpower more effectively.
This sector has also seen companies increase their workers’ salaries by 4 to 8% last year, he said.
Yong further suggested introducing initiatives where resources can be pooled together by companies offering the same products or services to train workers in their industries.
For example, he said a centralised kitchen could be set up to help retrain workers in the F&B sector.
He said that NTUC is working closely with the Economic Development Board and the Singapore National Employers Federation “to identify multinational corporates in each sector to drive productivity projects within the respective sectors”.