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The ongoing dispute between the national carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA)and its pilots union has once again brought into sharp focus the need for an independent trade union movement in Singapore to protect the interests of our workers who are otherwise left at the mercy of the PAP-led National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) .
The present claims and counterclaims by the Air Line Pilots Association Singapore (Alpa-S) and SIA management have brought to the fore the issue that workers rights are best served by an independent trade union, free from the clutches of government control.
The umbrella organisation NTUC which represents only 15 per cent of our workers have long neglected the basic rights of the majority by turning Singaporeans into cannon fodder for the multi-national corporations and leading government-linked companies.
The Singapore Democrats have always advocated the policy of Singaporean first and in this present climate of deep economic recession that is leading to widespread retrenchments and unemployment, the partys approach to safeguard the jobs of our citizens is based on our unbending commitment to the interests of Singaporeans. The call by Alpa-S to retrench foreign-based SIA pilots first before sacrificing the interests of local pilots and crew is a case in point.
The current dispute between SIA and its pilots highlights the importance of having an independent trade union movement that is free from government control.