Workers’ Party member slams government labour policies

by Miklos Bolza28 Aug 2015
The move to allow for a large growth in foreign manpower was a “quick, but wrong decision” that highlighted the need for more debate and a stronger opposition in parliament, Gerald Giam, member of the Workers’ Party (WP) Central Executive Council, told TODAY.
 
“If there had been more debate on the trade-offs of having this large population growth, I don’t think [the Government] would have embarked on such a tremendous opening of the floodgates,” he said. “A lot of what we are doing right now is actually trying to reverse the effects.”
 
Giam served as a non-constituency member of parliament in the 12th Singaporean Parliament and is tipped to lead the WP in contesting the East Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in next month’s General Election (GE). This will pit him against the People’s Action Party (PAP) team led by Manpower Minister, Lim Swee Say.
 
This isn’t the first time that Giam has spoken up against the PAP about their labour policies. Since the 2011 GE, he has raised questions about Jobs Bank posting statistics, redundancy and re-employment rates for local workers, and education checks used in Employment and S Pass applications.
 
In the interview with TODAY, Giam spoke about how he would focus on manpower and economic issues if elected.
 
“I would like to look more into how we can increase the workforce’s productivity, because that is really lagging behind. In the four years that I have been in Parliament, productivity has been either flat or negative,” he said.
 
Giam’s views on the government’s labour policies challenged what the Manpower Minister has said previously on the topic.
 
“It’s not so much because the policy of the past was a mistake but rather, we are now having a new stage of growth and therefore we have to pursue a new direction,” Lim told TODAY in an interview last week.
 
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