Things You Should Know About May Day Rally 2024, In Which PM Lee Gave His Last Major Speech Before Handover

When you look out and see the sea of red polo shirts, what would be the first thought that comes to your mind? Golfers?

Maybe, but when you take a look a little closer; you’ll see the NTUC logos decorating the comfortable red polo shirts worn by proud Union members and volunteers.

Because this morning (1 May), over 1,400 union leaders and tripartite partners of the National Trades Union Congress gathered at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre for the May Day Rally.

Amidst all the smiles, laughter and celebration, we also saw the Guest of Honour Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Yes, he was giving his last May Day Rally speech as Singapore’s PM.

Here’s what went on during the May Day Rally today.

Heartfelt Thank You to PM Lee Hsien Loong

#MayDay2024 is a day of celebration for the success of NTUC and the strong tripartite relationship between the unions, employers and the government.

In case you feel a little lost about tripartism and how unions can help PMEs like you and me, you can read more about them here.

To those of us who showed up this morning for the rally, you might recall the heartwarming speech by NTUC Secretary-General Mr Ng Chee Meng.

On behalf of the Labour Movement, Sec-Gen Ng thanked PM Lee for being a “steadfast”, “strategic” and supportive leader of Singapore.

Some of PM Lee’s achievements included his determination to champion for everyday workers like us to get better pay, better benefits and overall be taken care of by the government.

Many of us managed to benefit from the Progressive Wage Model and SkillsFuture thanks to him.

We also can’t forget about the Jobs Support Scheme and the many financial aid packages we received during COVID-19 – a very difficult time that still makes us feel not so good.

According to Mr Ng, some union leaders’ daughters have been calling PM Lee Uncle Loong.

The connection that PM Lee has with union leaders and their families made it easy for them to work together – further strengthening the symbiotic relationship they have.

Like a well-oiled machine – the Union and the Government can easily help workers.

I’m sure you remember how tough it was to work in a school project group with team members who weren’t pulling their weight – still brings me nightmares.

Because the relationship between “team members” here works so well and is unique to Singapore, says Mr Ng, we can continue to enjoy wins all around.

In other words, a good tripartite working relationship can ensure:

Economic growth + better lives + good people = first-world country.

Following that, the Labour Movement also shared a thank-you video for PM Lee:

Support for New PM Lawrence Wong

As we say goodbye to Mr Lee as PM, the Labour Movement welcomed the new “man of the house” – Mr Lawrence Wong.

I mean, unless you live under a rock, you’d know that DPM Lawrence Wong will be PM Lawrence Wong on 15 May 2024.

Mr Ng reminded all of us why he’s the best guy for the job. He’s always been an advocate for workers and was behind the:

  • Progressive Wage Credit Scheme
  • Workfare Income Supplement Scheme
  • Multi-Ministry Taskforce for COVID-19 (bet you knew him through this)
  • Growth Incentive Scheme

…and many more. His resume is definitely stacked.

Because of that, NTUC doesn’t seem to be worried about whether he’d deliver. Working people like us shouldn’t have to worry either.

PM Lee’s Emotional Speech

Today marks the last major speech that PM Lee will be delivering.

And boy did he deliver.

Other than highlighting the challenges Singapore face, and how Singapore has overcome the challenges, he also looked back at his 40 years of public service, and his 20 years as Prime Minister, saying, “I have done my duty, and I am very glad I chose this path of public service all those years ago.”

He then stepped aside for a deep bow, looking visibly emotional, as the crowd cheered on.

Did I mention there were balloons made for him, which he smiled to?

#EveryWorkerMatters Conversations (#EWMC)

While Gen Zs on TikTok are tagging #sgfyp and #tiktoksg on their videos to consume more Singaporean content, NTUC has been pushing for the #EWMC sessions since 2022.

Since then, 42,000 people have participated in dialogue sessions with over 100 union leaders, 200 volunteers and over 8,000 hours worth of conversations.

It’s like a podcast session where you’re the host, and the Union is listening. You can also look at it as a tea-spilling session.

How come?

Through #EWMC You share about what’s bugging you at work and what you’re worried about. They will try their best to help you.

Mr Ng said that the info they got from #EWMC has helped them start initiatives such as the flexi-work arrangements and pushing companies to train their employees better.

Of course, Happy Labour Day to all of the hard-workers in Singapore.

And yes, with Labour Day smacked on a Wednesday this year…happy working tomorrow.

This article was first published on Goody Feed and written in collaboration with NTUC.