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The second annual Labour Day protest is expected to draw thousands of Singaporeans to Speaker’s Corner this May Day to protect the professional interests of “ordinary Singaporeans”.
Organiser Gilbert Goh has announced the plans for the protest on May 1 via Facebook, stating the gathering at Hong Lim Park will now become an annual event.
The theme for this year’s protest is “Protect the Singaporean Workers”, Goh said in statement, which aims to invite ordinary Singaporeans to share their stories about how they have been affected by an ever-changing Singapore.
“There are much for our workers to protest about on labour day – the influx of foreigners who have robbed us of our rice bowl, the lack of proper representation when there is a contractual dispute with the employer and the perpetually-low wages which ensure that Singaporeans continue to struggle in our small city state crippled by ever-rising cost of living,” Goh wrote.
“Let us remind all our participants that this is a protest and not a rally or picnic – we need you to come prepared to shout and raise your fist at the errant pro-employer policies of our government.”
Goh also states the protest will name and shame companies which have a track record of discriminatory practices.
Last year’s inaugural protest drew in crowds of around 4,000 people. It also banned foreigners from attending, but it is unclear if the same rules will apply this year.
The announcement of the protest comes at the same time as labour chief Lim Swee Say’s annual May Day message on Sunday, in which he urged employers to be “better bosses” and “not to take job supply for granted”.
Two-thirds of Singapore’s workforce is local, and the government hopes to keep it that way, he said.
“My message to the employers is that the labour market tightness will remain for some time to come, so therefore, please find ways to be a better employer, make better use of every worker, and treat every worker better.
“My message to the workers is do not take the tight labour market for granted. Job supply should never be taken for granted. In fact, the whole world is now moving towards using robotisation, using new technology to reduce their dependency on labour.
“So therefore it’s important that we value every job that we have, be proud of what we do, and that we do what we do, our job, passionately. So in other words, be a better worker.”
Human Resources will update this story as it progresses.