29 September 2022
The tripartite partners comprising the Singapore Government, the National Trades Union Congress (“NTUC”) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (“SNEF”) have established a new Tripartite Workgroup on Representation for Platform Workers (“TWG”). This was announced by the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) on 30 August 2022.
Comprising representatives from the tripartite partners, the Singapore Business Federation (“SBF”) and platform companies, the TWG seeks to propose a balanced and sustainable industrial relations framework that enhances representation for platform workers. The growth and sustainability of the platform industry will benefit from having a clear framework. Platform worker representatives will be better empowered in negotiating for their interests, while platform companies will benefit from clear processes and rules for negotiations, as well as more efficient dispute management.
The key deliverables of the TWG are to propose:
- A framework for a representative body to seek mandate to represent platform workers collectively;
- The scope of issues that can be negotiated between a platform company and a platform worker representative body; and
- A dispute management framework to efficiently address disputes between negotiating parties.
Enhancing representation to support platform workers is one of the focus areas of the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers (“Advisory Committee”). The Advisory Committee has assessed that it would be useful for stakeholders to come together to study the issue in greater detail and propose a framework that allows platform workers to be formally represented and balances the interests of platform workers and platform companies. By way of background, the formation of the Advisory Committee was announced by Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng after the National Day Rally 2021 and held its first meeting on 15 September 2021.
The Advisory Committee notes that enhancing representation for platform workers is an issue of international concern, and that while some jurisdictions have applied a one-size-fits-all approach for platform workers and employees, this may not be an optimal approach for Singapore as there are clear distinctions between a platform worker and an employee.
The Advisory Committee will continue to engage widely on its three focus areas: (i) improving housing and retirement adequacy, (ii) strengthening financial protection in case of work injury, and (iii) enhancing representation. The Advisory Committee expects to submit its recommendations to the Government before the end of 2022, while the TWG targets to complete its work in 2023.