The SDP is deeply concerned about the job situation in Singapore. We are also disappointed with the PAP's proposed plans in this area which is more fluff than substance.
As such the SDP is proposing a measure that will help create jobs while opening up a path for Singaporeans to become more enterprising and innovative.
We propose to do this via an extension of our idea for a national unemployment benefits programme called RESTART (Re-Employment Scheme and Temporary Assistance for the ReTrenched).
Under this plan, all workers join an insurance scheme with employers and the government. If a worker is retrenched, she will be entitled to an average of 50% of her last drawn salary for a period of 18 months (subject to a cap of the prevailing median wage).
If the retrenched worker can find nine other similarly retrenched workers and submit a viable business proposal, they will be able to withdraw their unemployment payouts in one lump sum to use as capital to start a co-operative enterprise.
The SDP calls such an initiative RESTART Co-op.
The scheme would set out broad guidelines as to the types of business-cooperatives it would approve. An independent body can be set up to oversee such businesses to prevent abuse of the scheme. Statutory guidelines can be introduced to hold the boards and management accountable.
Such a practice, pioneered in Italy called the Marcora Law, will help retrenched workers get back on their feet and also encourage entrepreneurship among Singaporeans. It will also help to create jobs if these businesses become successful.
In addition, these co-ops, owned and managed for the benefit of members, will contribute to economic inclusivity and pluralism in Singapore’s market economy.
At the moment, Singapore is ranked highly in the Crony-Capitalism Index. Such a model is unhealthy and unsustainable as clearly demonstrated in our productivity and GDP numbers in recent years.
In the post-Covid era, Singapore must move away from a Government-dominated domestic economy and embark on genuine restructuring of our economy where the private sector plays a major role and the country develops a robust entrepreneurial culture.
The SDP's proposal of RESTART Co-op will put Singapore firmly on the road to a healthier economy and brighter future for Singaporeans.