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Will PMEs benefit from being unionised?

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The NTUC is looking to take professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) under their care to provide them with better support.

The labour movement has initiated talks with the Singapore government to potentially revise the current Industrial Relations Act so unions can represent both rank-and-file and white-collar workers, Channel News Asia reported.

“The labour movement is calling on its tripartite partners and recently just started discussions to explore ways on how we can better represent and enlarge the scope of representation of PMEs,” Patrick Tay, director of the legal and PME unit at NTUC, said.

He said the union is also looking at ways they can “further stretch the scope for the rank-and-file unions in Singapore”.

Currently, PMEs form a third of the local workforce, but are estimated to make up two thirds by 2030.

However, NTUC has seen an increase in the number of PMEs being retrenched, and hope the changes in the Act will give them another avenue to address work-related issues.

At the moment, PMEs are only represented in negotiations for retrenchment benefits, breach of employment contracts, appeals against wrongful dismissal, and victimisation.

“It is also important to recognise that PMEs, even if they are better educated and in a far better position to negotiate their own terms, they are ultimately coming up against employers,” Eugene Tan, an assistant professor at the Singapore Management University, said.

“Given that the workforce is changing, today’s blue-collar workers would be tomorrow’s PMEs.”

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