If You’re a PME, Here’s Another Reason Why You Should Join a Union

Layoffs everywhere and economic outlook looking bleakkk.

If you are in the tech industry, you would probably be extra worried about job security now, right?

After all, did you hear that retrenchment figures in Singapore last year were more than double that of the year before: 14,320, up from 6,440 in 2022?

Not to scare you, but retrenchment numbers will continue to climb.

More people, across all industries and age groups, will likely be impacted. Now, being retrenched puts you in an unfavourable position in job negotiations.

Now, what if your retrenchment benefits were bad – what recourse do you have, especially as Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs)?

#ICYMI, PMEs can be union members, so getting your company unionised does make a difference.

Don’t wait till a crisis before becoming a union member.

What Are Unions?

You may not know this, but unions actually play a big role in many matters concerning employees and employers in Singapore.

Now, this is why professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs) are encouraged to join unions: to protect themselves.

The union can help members negotiate for better benefits and support them in finding comparable jobs in the face of retrenchments.

Reader: Wait, PMEs can join unions?

Of course; PMEs can join unions.

In fact, NTUC wants to do better to support PMEs, and PMEs now make up 45% of the membership base. They aim to do even more to support PMEs in workplace protection, career progression and job placement.

In a rapidly-developing world where AI is starting to take over the workforce, being a union member allows access training subsidies and upskilling opportunities to protect your job.

Think collective bargaining power, legal support, social support, and more.

PMEs can be assisted by unions in the following:

  • Unfair dismissal;
  • Amount of retrenchment benefits;
  • Breaches of employment contracts;
  • Victimisation issues; and
  • Re-employment disputes.

A recent example of how you can be protected?

Earlier this year, sudden layoffs at Lazada left people crying and baffled. “Unfair,” some said. “Caused much anxiety,” other said. “Lack of transparency,” some added.

After the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU), an affiliate of NTUC, stepped in, an amicable settlement was reached.

Following talks between Lazada and FDAWU, eligible affected union members who were laid off as a result of the exercise will receive “an enhanced support package“.

Thereafter, Lazada also established a dedicated training fund for FDAWU to provide employment and employability support for affected members in collaboration with NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).

The intervention by the FDAWU is a “strong testament” to how unions can represent and protect members’ interests, said NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng.

As you can see, being in a union can help you get representation and protection, helpful in times of crisis—kind of like an insurance policy you think you don’t need, but actually need.

After all, we buy insurance policy for almost everything (yes, even for our pets); why not get one for our livelihood? 

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