The affiliates, attended a strategy and leadership gathering at 03-07 Tembeling Centre, which is also home to the new office, and discussed the timetable for a number of important events that will take place in Singapore in April 2013.
Singapore’s economy depends heavily on manufacturing exports, particularly aerospace, electronics, IT-products, pharmaceuticals and shipbuilding. Around 19 per cent of its total workforce is employed in manufacturing, which represents just over 27 per cent of gross domestic product. The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) is Singapore’s only national center and has 61 affiliates, and over 600,000 members. IndustriALL’s affiliated unions cover all of the manufacturing sectors.
In addition to introducing the newly formed IndustriALL Global Union to the affiliates during the meeting the leaders also discussed ways to improve interaction between the new office and the affiliates. These discussions included training and education exchanges, also how to improve communications and increasing the profile of IndustriALL in Singapore. One outcome was that IndustriALL Regional Secretary Annie Adviento and IndustriALL Regional Officer Vonny Diananto will attend an Executive Committee meeting of each affiliate to increase local knowledge of IndustriALL’s activities.
Rob Johnston, IndustriALL Executive Director, informed participants, “It’s important that IndustriALL builds its profile in the Asia-Pacific Region. The region is rapidly becoming the manufacturing hub of the global economy. Our office needs to have its finger on the pulse of our affiliates in this region, so that our work program reflects the affiliates needs.”
The Singapore meeting follows a number of other Leadership Forums that have taken place in the Asia-Pacific Region, during which affiliates from the original merger partners have been developing strategies on how to work together in the newly formed IndustriALL Global Union. So far forums have been held in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. The approach taken at each has been different reflecting local culture, but the outcome has been the same: a strong desire to build IndustriALL nationally. Affiliates in Singapore also agreed to explore the possibilities to create greater coordination among themselves and how to build up participation in IndustriALL activities.
One common challenge the local unions are facing is the slow down in manufacturing exports due to weaker European demand. Also the unions under the NTUC banner have been coordinating their response to a controversial Population-White Paper recently launched by government. The White Paper contains a number of key areas that will determine the government’s approach on issues such as the number of foreign workers, infrastructure, education and skills for 2020-2030, all of which will have an impact of the future of manufacturing in the country. IndustriALL’s affiliates seem well placed to influence the current debate with a number of its leaders being members of consultative tripartite bodies.
The contact details for the new office in Singapore are:
IndustriALL South East Asia Office
252 Tembeling Road
03-07 Tembeling Centre
Tel : +65-63 46 4303
Fax : +65-63 46 4304