ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PM urges workers, bosses to do their part for "better workers, better jobs" vision
SINGAPORE: Singapore is undergoing a major transition but amidst this change, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government's goal remains constant - that is to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
Mr Lee made this point in his annual May Day message on Wednesday.
Labour Day for Singapore this year comes against the backdrop of a country in transition.
Economic restructuring means slower growth.
But Prime Minister Lee said wages and household incomes have risen broadly.
The government is also strengthening social safety nets through reforms such as MediShield Life, a universal national medical insurance scheme, and Permanent GST vouchers to offset daily expenses.
To improve the lives of Singaporeans, Mr Lee said an important strategy is to develop better workers and create better jobs.
That's the only sustainable way to raise wages, he said.
Mr Lee said the government is investing heavily in Continuous Education and Training, building two new training institutes - the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong and the Life Long Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.
This year's Budget also saw further incentives to help companies raise productivity.
But Mr Lee stressed that it's a collective responsibility.
Workers, he said, must make the effort to train and upgrade themselves.
Employers must invest in workers, develop their skills and make full use of their talents.
Only then will the government's programmes bear fruit, said Mr Lee.
"By working together, we strengthen our model of tripartism, and keep it our lasting competitive advantage," he said.
PM Lee also paid tribute to Singapore's pioneer generation, who helped build the country.
He said that in the unions, many pioneers fought the Communists and worked with the government to foster constructive labour relations to build a competitive economy.
Mr Lee called on workers to honour these pioneers by building on their achievements.
The message of transition is echoed in almost all May Day messages by Singapore's leadership and tripartite partners.
Workers in Singapore have been told to brace themselves for further changes, the result of economic restructuring, while companies have been warned that the labour market will remain tight and the way out is to speed up on productivity and innovation.
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