Speech by Ms Diana Chia, General Secretary, Healthcare Services Employees' Union (NHG) and member, NTUC Central Committee at the NHG-HSEU Re-employment Project Memorandum of Agreement signing in conjunction with the NTUC Learning Journey to the Healthcare Sector on 19 June 2008, 2.00 pm at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Mr Lim Swee Say – Secretary-General, NTUC
Dr Lim Suet Wun – CEO, NHG
Ms Olivia Tay – Chief Human Resource Officer, NHG
CEOs and HR leaders of NHG institutions
Fellow NTUC Central Committee members
Comrades, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am delighted to be here today together with the rest of my union comrades and staff of NHG to celebrate this momentous partnership between NHG and HSEU.
1. Over the past years since the restructuring of the public hospitals, NHG has grown into a key player in our local healthcare sector hiring more than 14,000 staff across its institutions. This achievement is especially significant because NHG is competing in a highly demanding and rapidly developing healthcare industry. Both healthcare clusters have done well in the re-employment of older workers and I am proud to say the healthcare sector is one of the pioneers in this area.
2. NTUC has embarked on the Labour Movement 2011 and the "Silver Collar" dragon boat has been identified by HSEU Exco as one of the priority areas to work on. I recall several months back when our HSEU team supported by the entire team from NTUC HQ met with the NHG team at NHG HQ on this project. After months of hard work put in by NHG’s HR team and the HSEU/NTUC team, we see the fruition of this union-management project which will set the stage for more fruitful partnerships ahead. I am very happy that NHG has leveraged on the close working relationship with HSEU and built on its experience accumulated through a strong track record to embark on the Encore project to encourage the re-employment of older workers. I am aware from NHG management that in 2007, about 86% of retiring workers were re-employed and we hope that HSEU and NHG will continue to build on the momentum to raise this percentage. In the same vein, we hope through this joint collaboration to see a more sustainable framework, for the benefit of the company and the workers. I must also thank the staff from NTUC Industrial Relations Department, Employability Enhancement Department, e2i and NTUC Learning Hub who have supported behind the scenes to make this project possible. Thank you.
3. NHG has received numerous awards and accolades and this project will be another significant milestone. I also understand that NHG has started on investing in technology and researching into new methodologies to re-design and re-create jobs so as to cater to the needs, improve the welfare and raise the productivity of its older workers. This is exemplary and displays NHG’s pro-activeness and forward-looking HR policy. We hope other equally enlightened companies will follow suit. By the same token, both management and union must also constantly innovate and think of ways to enhance worker productivity so that the company and our workers can stay competitive.
4. Today’s Memorandum of Agreement signing and event marks the start of a strategic partnership between NHG and HSEU and is a testimony of our strong labour-management relationship. On this high note, I wish for a fruitful and endearing partnership, and I am confident that as we embrace the programmes and initiatives towards re-employment of older workers, we are finding concrete solutions to the ageing workforce and seizing the opportunities out there so that NHG will be well positioned come 2012 when the new law on re-employment will be introduced.