National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) U Women and Family (U WAF) signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with ten companies, with more than 650 staff, in the logistics and supply chain sector, pledging their commitment in making their workplaces better for workers. Companies who are unionised or partners of U SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) will receive additional support from U WAF under the “Better Workplace” Campaign.
Witnessing the MOU signing was NTUC Secretary-General (SG) Ng Chee Meng, NTUC Director for U SME and U WAF Ms Yeo Wan Ling and Supply Chain Employees Union (SCEU) Executive Secretary Mr Fahmi Aliman. SG Ng toured Bok Seng Logistics Pte Ltd’s warehouses and interacted with various staff to hear about how they benefitted from policy frameworks that the company has put in place in the areas of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) and work-life harmony (WLH). Bok Seng Logistics Pte Ltd is a unionised company under SCEU and is the first company in this sector to come on board the MOU.
MOU Signing with Companies in the Logistics and Supply Chain Sector to Create Better Workplaces
The logistics and supply chain sector is an important pillar of Singapore’s economy – contributed a value-add of S$6.8 billion in 2019 and generated more than 86,000 jobs. It is also a growing sector with increasing demand fueled by growth in the e-commerce industry and renewed growth of economies in the region . With greater adoption of technology and automation of processes in a traditionally male-dominated industry, it necessitates a relook at job roles – this would allow workers to contribute to higher value add jobs and earn higher wages, as well as attract and retain manpower in the sector.
U WAF, U SME and SCEU have been engaging companies in the logistics and supply chain sector to encourage them to build better and more progressive workplaces. The MOU signing by the 10 companies cement the companies’ commitment to:
a. Review existing provision of WLH support including FWAs for employees using a self-diagnostic tool provided by NTUC;
b. Adopt Tripartite Standards as well as develop policies on FWAs and workplace harassment with support and resources from NTUC; and
c. Redesign identified job roles and provide necessary training for female workers to take on these jobs.
As one of the earliest adopters of these progressive practices in the sector, Mr Dave Ng, Group Chief Executive Officer of Bok Seng Logistics Pte Ltd shared, “At Bok Seng, we want to create a better workplace for our people to improve their lives. I believe that when we take care of our workers, they in turn will take care of our business.” Mr Dave Ng, who is also the Chairman of the Singapore Logistics Association, added, “The Singapore Logistics Association is also focusing on helping companies, especially SMEs, in creating better workplaces. For the logistics and transport industry, we are responsible for the storage and movement of cargo, where dedicated workers are needed for physical flows. As such, the welfare of employees must be one of our top considerations when it comes to retaining and motivating them in our transformation journey.”
Mr Fahmi Aliman, Executive Secretary of Supply Chain Employees Union, said, “The Supply Chain Employees Union is committed to working together with logistics and supply chain companies to help them look at creating better workplaces for our workers and redesigning jobs for women workers. We will continue to engage more companies in the sector to join us and leverage the NTUC ecosystem to make themselves more attractive to jobseekers.”
NTUC “Better Workplace” Campaign
Companies who are unionised or partners of U SME that sign the MOU and fulfil specified criteria will receive additional support from NTUC – the U WAF team will furnish the companies’ premise with either a wellness corner where staff may relax or bond; or a lactation space. This is to provide a tangible benefit to workers at their workplaces and to recognise the efforts of progressive employers. Through the MOU signing and “Better Workplace” Campaign, U WAF aims to create a safe and supportive environment for workers to carry out their work productively and achieve work-life harmony – key to making the logistic industry more attractive, and hence meet the manpower demand of the sector.
Ms Yeo Wan Ling, NTUC Director for U SME and U WAF shared, “We want employers to join us in making their workplaces better – a nurturing environment that allows workers to juggle caregiving and work responsibilities, while fulfilling their work and personal aspirations. We encourage companies, especially SMEs, to tap on our resources and experience to implement these good practices and policies. We strive to bring more companies on board so that more workers can benefit from this. We also hope that this will attract more women to join this growing sector.”