GE rallies cement labour policy future for Singapore

by Miklos Bolza07 Sep 2015
Last weekend’s political rallies saw parties across the board give comment on the country’s current labour situation. In particular, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and National Solidarity Party (NSP) took aim at the People’s Action Party (PAP) about their handling of the influx of foreign workers. Comments from all three parties show that the recent trend towards strengthening local workers and the move away from a reliance on foreign workers are not showing any signs of abating.
 
At an SDP rally on Saturday (5 September), the party chief, Chee Soon Juan, said the way the government had handled the influx of foreign workers was “disappointing”, adding that the move had led to today’s problems of overcrowding, infrastructure breakdowns and increased cost of living.
 
“I had the shock of my life when in 2008, then-Minister George Yeo said the Government should come up with a master plan to see how many foreigners we can accommodate. After 10 years of allowing two million people into the country, then you come and tell us that the Government needs a plan? Don’t you think that’s a little bit too late?” he said in a speech delivered on Commonwealth Avenue.
 
Also on Saturday, the NSP held a rally at Tampines Street 81 with several party members speaking on the increased number of foreign workers entering the country.
 
Lim Tean, NSP Secretary General and candidate for Tampines Group Representation Constituency (GRC), said, “Today, our middle income professionals are subject to competition from so-called foreign talent. We are the only first world country in the world … with such liberal policies that allow in foreign workers who take away the jobs of Singaporeans.”
 
Reno Fong, another candidate for the Tampines GRC, said the NSP would bring in additional foreign worker quotas for professionals seeking work in Singapore. He noted that these jobs should be returned to Singaporeans instead.
 
These comments come after the PAP’s Lim Swee Say spoke on his concerns for the Singaporean workforce at a rally on Friday (4 September).
 
“As a manpower minister, one thing I worry about is the growth of our workforce. In fact, it will come a point in time where the Singapore workforce may stop growing, so every year, with the new Singaporean workers (joining) the workforce, at the same time, you have the not-so-young Singaporeans retiring from the workforce,” he said as a guest speaker at the PAP’s Fengshan Single Member Constituency rally.

Because of this set political trajectory, it is up to HRDs to implement the right labour policies so as to recruit, retain and develop a more local workforce in order to survive. Companies like Ubisoft Singapore have already established the proper framework to achieve this goal.

"[Our] policy has always been the same because the industry is young in Singapore so we invest a lot of effort into grooming local talent," says Iris Tee, HRD of Ubisoft. "Even after they join us, we also spend quite a lot of energy making sure they have good career progression and training them so they eventually can be experts and leaders."
 
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