Learning & Development Asia 2024
ILO and Singapore to continue efforts in supporting decent work across ASEAN

ILO and Singapore to continue efforts in supporting decent work across ASEAN

"We look forward to continuing our work with the ILO to promote progressive labour and workplace practices, with a focus on fostering social dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building," Singapore's Permanent Secretary of MOM, Ng Chee Khern, said. 

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Singapore have agreed to continue their joint collaboration efforts to support decent work aspects of the ASEAN regional integration process for another two years.

The Partnership Agreement for Collaborative Programme on Labour and Decent Work was signed at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on 12 June 2024 (Wednesday) between ILO and Singapore's Ministry for Manpower (MOM) representatives, and will be valid from June 2024 to June 2026. 

This partnership will involve joint activities focused on workplace safety, skills training, and cooperation between developing countries. 

It will also help ASEAN governments, employers, and workers improve their ability to discuss and plan for the future of work in the region.

Also in attendance was Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, who said: "Singapore is a key partner for the ILO in helping deliver decent work and social justice across ASEAN. 

"This agreement will see a continuation of our valuable collaboration which has delivered tangible benefits for many years across the region."

Ng Chee Khern, Permanent Secretary of the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, signed the agreement on behalf of Singapore and said: "This reflects our commitment to work together to support governments, employers and workers in the ASEAN region. 

"We look forward to continuing our work with the ILO to promote progressive labour and workplace practices, with a focus on fostering social dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building".

Singapore and the ILO have worked together since 2012 to promote decent work in Asia and the Pacific. Their activities focus on developing human resources to support ASEAN integration and cooperation.

Other notable actions include the ILO’s work with SkillsFuture Singapore to predict future skill needs and extend technical support to ASEAN countries for reskilling and upskilling

In 2022, Singapore hosted the ILO's Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting, uniting representatives from the Asia-Pacific and Arab States. This event led to the "Singapore Statement," outlining priorities to address employment challenges in these regions.

In his plenary speech at the 112th International Labour Conference on earlier in the week (Monday, 10 June 2024), previously reported on by HRO, Minister for Manpower Dr. Tan See Leng said: "The ILO and its constituents have showed great solidarity in overcoming COVID, which has had a massive impact on the world of work.

"We are now responding to the challenges of a post-pandemic world by reassessing how we can better ensure fair opportunities and protections for every worker, and empower our workforces to benefit from technological change."

Commenting ahead of extended the ILO-Singapore Partnership Agreement, the minister affirmed: "Singapore will continue to organise joint technical activities to support governments, employers, and workers in ASEAN." 

He also touched on the progress Singapore has made in efforts to make workplaces more progressive and uplift lower-wage workers:

  • Strategies to create productive employment:
    • Enhanced the Career Conversion Programmes by providing more salary support and monthly training allowance, with the aim to help workers access good career opportunities.
  • Norms responsive to a changing world of work – progressive workplaces:
  • Adequate social protection leading to positive worker outcomes:
    • Expansion of the Progressive Wage model, which benefits up to nine in 10 lower-wage workers. 
    • To strengthen protection for platform workers, the government will introduce legislation to require platform operators to provide financial support for platform workers injured at work. "We will also improve their retirement adequacy and enable them to access the benefits of collective representation", Minister Tan shared.
    • Introduced an outpatient healthcare plan for migrant workers, wherein employers pay an annual fee for their workers who can then access a range of healthcare services.

"A truly successful society is one where everyone succeeds together. Renewing the social contract is an important step towards ensuring that no one is left behind. 

"We will continue to work on this renewal together with tripartite partners and the wider ILO community", Minister Tan concluded.

Full coverage on Minister Tan's speech here.

READ MORE: OCBC launches accelerated banking career programme to double its annual intake of polytechnic graduates in Singapore

Lead image / 123RF

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