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Singapore’s Industrial Relations Act (IR) has been amended to expand the scope of union representation to include professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) on a collective basis.
Presently, PMEs can be represented by rank-and-file unions on an individual basis for limited matters. The amendment comes in the wake of a growing proportion of PMEs in the local workforce.
“PMEs now form more than 30% of our workforce and this proportion is expected to increase further as Singaporeans become better educated and aspire to such jobs,” said Minister for Manpower, Tan Chuan-Jin.
However, to avoid a conflict of interest, certain categories of executives will continue to be excluded from the revisions. These include those in a senior management role, those in a position to hire and promote employees, or those with access to confidential information such as payroll and budgeting.
Another key amendment to the Act is to expand the scope of individual representation to matters of re-employment.
Currently, rank-and-file unions can represent PMEs on an individual basis in four areas: breach of employment contract, retrenchment benefits, unfair dismissal and victimisation.
This scope will now be broadened to include issues concerning re-employment of PMEs after retirement. These include:
- Denial of re-employment on the ground that the employee does not satisfy the eligibility criteria;
- Denial of re-employment on the ground that the employer is unable to find a suitable vacancy in his/her establishment;
- Reasonableness of the terms and conditions of any re-employment offer made by the employer; and
- Reasonableness of the amount of any employment assistance payment offered to an employee.
Both amendments will come into effect on April 1, 2015.
“We are confident that the proposed amendments will make our tripartite model even more inclusive. It will strengthen Singapore’s model of tripartism and benefit employees, unions and employers,” added Chuan-Jin.