Empower workers for a better quality of life

Singapore Democrats

This Saturday the SDP will becommemorating Labour Day by holding a Mandarin public forum tohighlight the suppression of workers’ rights in Singapore.$CUT$

In the 1960s, trade union leaders wererounded up under the ISA and detained for years without trial. Thosewho advocated better working conditions and higher pay were putbehind bars under Operation Cold Store.

Ever since, workers in Singapore havebeen exploited, resulting in the massive income inequality that wesee today with low-income workers paid below what is needed forsurvival in our expensive city.

Mr Chng Min Oh (庄明湖), a labour leader whowas arrested in 1970, will be one of the speakers at the forum. He will speak out on the crushing of trade unions in Singapore:

As a victim of Singapore’s ISA, Iconsider it my personal obligation to highlight the oppressioncommitted by the PAP in the 1960s.

I was detained for theduration of 13 years and 4 days. In past decades, I and thosewho were similarly imprisoned, have been suppressing our feelings andanger of such injustice.

Both Singapore and Malaysia’s ISAoriginated from The Emergency Regulations 1948 during the Britishcolonial rule. According to history books, the original purpose ofPAP’s continued adoption of the ISA was to counter the communists’violent insurgence.

However, the ISA became the oppressivetool for the PAP to deal with its political opponents and dissent.Under the ISA, anyone can be detained indefinitely without trial aslong as the person is accused of being ‘a threat to the nationalsecurity’ or ‘engaged in subversive activities’.

Such treatment of workers has ledto the exploitation ofSingaporean workers who have little say in their own affairs. Allthis has resulted in, according to the International LabourOrganisation, Singaporeans working one of the longest hours in theworld while seeing our real wages decline.

Our workers remain helpless even as the Government takes in millions of foreign workers suppressing our wages and displacing many Singaporeans from employment.

Workers who are empowered and paid rightful wages are, on the otherhand, more productive and can deliver quality work. This willimprove productivity which will boost our economy in the long run. Most important, we want to see a better quality of life for Singaporean workers as well as a healthier work-life balance.

Come hear Mr Chng’s experience at this Saturday’s forum and how we can put Singapore back on the winning path by empowering our workers.

Remember it was the labour movement that gave us the right to have our weekends off and to work eight hours, recreate eight hours and rest eight hours. So join us as we mark International Workers’ Day.

: SDP Labour Day Forum (Announcement in
Date: 27 April 2013,Saturday
Time: 2-5 pm
Place: China Media Success, Action Room,

           #04-41 Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain Street


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