This year, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
We have come a long way. Singapore is a small market, yet our economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Our population is small, yet our workforce is one of the best and our unemployment rate is among the lowest.
We are not endowed with any natural resources but we educate, train and develop our manpower into our most precious asset. We have limited land with a dense population, yet we enjoy high home ownership and live in a green, clean and safe Singapore.
These achievements have not come easy. They are the result of many years of hard work and team work â€“ by our workers and people, investors and businesses, unions and Government. In bad times, we upturn the downturn together to minimise the pain on our workers and businesses. In good times, we grow the economic pie together and share the gains.
This uniquely Singapore approach to tripartism has served us well. It enables us to keep growing our economy and keep sharing the fruits of our progress with our workers and our people.
Looking ahead, there is much more we want to achieve for ourselves, our families and our children. However, the journey forward will only get harder. The world of the future offers not only exciting opportunities but also daunting challenges and uncertainties like the re-shaping of the global economy, a longer lifespan and a widening income gap.
To keep succeeding, it is critical that we become FUTURE READY. Our economy must become more productive and innovative, our workforce more skillful and adaptable, and our tripartism more united and stronger.
The same applies to the Labour Movement. Today, we are proud to celebrate our 50th birthday from a position of strength. Our union membership is growing. Our labour leadership is self-renewing. Our standing in the global labour fraternity is improving. But we are not and must not become complacent. We have started the journey to be FUTURE READY by becoming probably the first and only labour movement in the world that is able to serve all collars, all ages and all nationalities of workers as one inclusive movement.
Together, let us keep transforming our economy, creating good jobs and re-skilling our workers.
Together, let us strive for better jobs, better pay and better lives, now and into the future.
Together, let us be FUTURE READY.
Happy 50th birthday, NTUC! Happy May Day, our fellow workers of Singapore!