NTUC’s Budget 2017 wishlist

Jan 18, 2017 08.30AM |

THE Labour Movement has outlined its recommendations for Budget 2017, with a focus on getting workers, employers and the G to adapt more quickly to the changing economy.

For workers:

  • More modular courses (for constant skills upgrading)
  • “Returnship” programmes for women re-entering the workforce (like internships, where workers get to try out the job before deciding to train/retrain)
  • Special Employment Credits for older workers and returning women
  • More legal protection, CPF help for freelancers

For employers:

  • Support hiring that is skills-based instead of academic qualification-based (because that’s what gets the job done)
  • Improved apprenticeship programmes (the best way to learn job-related skills is to do the job)
  • Targeted productivity funding (tailored for each sector’s needs)
  • Funds for SMEs to improve workplace safety and health

For the G:

  • Paid training leave for SkillsFuture courses (because $500 doesn’t buy you time off from work)
  • Skills and salary data from the Jobs Bank (to know what’s in demand and prepare for it)
  • Amend procurement law to allow vendor contract renegotiations (in situations where productivity/technology improves, for example)

Will NTUC’s wishes come true? We’ll find out on Feb 20 when Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivers the Budget speech.

It’ll be a hard Brexit. Another widely-watched list is UK PM Theresa May’s speech that underscored her administration’s “Brexit means Brexit” stance. Markets rallied when she pledged that Parliament will have to agree to the deal.

A hard Brexit means that the UK will not want any half measures like staying partially in the EU single market. It will then negotiate trade, immigration and other international agreements as an independent nation.

She warned her EU counterparts against trying to punish the UK with a raw deal, saying that she would rather Brexit with no agreement from the EU than accept a “bad deal”.

The Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the highest Singapore-China forum, will be held next month, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting is co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

Observers had noted that the annual meeting failed to take place last year and with the Terrex seizure issue straining bilateral ties, speculation was that the missed meeting was another sign of deteriorating relations.

Both foreign ministries are upbeat about relations but mum on what is on the agenda. Everyone is guessing: Taiwan? Terrexes? Territorial disputes?


Featured image from TMG file.

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