Themed “Tripartism in the New World – Navigating Challenges Past, Present and Future”, the Tripartite Collective’s inaugural event on 6 May 2022 saw close to 200 members come together to launch the Tripartite Collective and unveil its logo (see Annex A).

Announced in August 2021 by Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, the Tripartite Collective, a set-up under the Tripartite Alliance Limited (TAL), has been established with the aim to strengthen the spirit of tripartism in the community by bringing together like-minded individuals to exchange views and ideas on key issues faced by employers and employees. This will help to foster trust and socialise stakeholders to the importance of tripartism, so that we can continue to weather future crises and stand ready to capitalise on new opportunities for our employees and employers.

The Tripartite Collective community comprises members1 from the tripartite partners (Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF)), employers, unions, trade associations, business chambers of commerce and the academic community. The Tripartite Collective’s mission is to grow and socialise this community to the spirit of tripartism.

The Tripartite Collective secretariat is led by Programme Director, Mr Felix Ong. To achieve its mission, the Tripartite Collective will commission research studies, conduct open dialogues and sharing sessions, and organise capability development programmes. Supported by the tripartite partners and Temasek Foundation, the Tripartite Collective’s Advisors are Mr Lim Swee Say, former Minister for Manpower, Ms Diana Chia, former President of NTUC, and Mr Stephen Lee, former President of SNEF.

“Strong tripartite relations are a crucial element of Singapore’s success. The ability of employers, unions and the Government to engage one another freely and in good faith has helped to avoid many conflicts and resolve crises. Today is not just an important milestone for the Tripartite Collective, but also tripartism in general. In the days ahead, the Tripartite Collective will help to foster and sustain trust among tripartite leaders, and engage the wider community to socialise them to how tripartism is a key competitive advantage for Singapore,” said Mr Felix Ong, Programme Director, Tripartite Collective.

Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Head, Programmes, Temasek Foundation, said, “Cooperation, mutual trust and respect have allowed us to build up a Singapore brand of tripartism throughout the years. Our close partnership seeks out win-win solutions that have benefitted our economy and society, and are turning the tide on the pandemic as we speak. We hope the Tripartite Collective can play an active role to strengthen tripartism among stakeholders so that we can continue to ensure industrial harmony and take collective action to advance the common good.”

During the event, key findings from the “Tripartism in Singapore: A Steward Leadership Approach to Crisis Management (COVID-19 Case Study)” report2 were presented by the Stewardship Asia Centre. The report provides insights on how the unprecedented disruptions brought about by the pandemic have amplified the importance of tripartism, driven by a strong sense of common purpose to save jobs and help businesses. At the same time, the findings acknowledge how tripartism, as well as key tripartism and stewardship values, have evolved.

“The pandemic has presented many challenges to businesses and employees. As countries around the world now start to loosen the social restrictions that have been implemented, it is timely to reflect on the role of tripartism and stewardship in the coming years. As shown in our research, strong tripartite relations, based on the foundation of stewardship values such as interdependence, have been crucial in helping employers and employees to navigate this crisis, and position themselves for greater success in the future of work,” said Mr Rajeev Peshawaria, CEO, Stewardship Asia Centre.

The event also saw lively exchanges among panellists and audience during the two panel discussions (see Annex B for details). Titled “Tripartism and Global Challenges: Opportunities and Challenges in Crises”, the first panel session recounted the nature of tripartite collaboration in the last three decades, and examined how this enabled Singapore to overcome the Asian and the Global Financial Crises. The second panel session, titled “Future of work and Tripartism: How do we prepare ourselves?” discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and future of work on Singapore’s tripartite model, and highlighted the need for employers and workers to continuously adapt and upskill and forge greater trust and stronger relationships to overcome future challenges.

 

1 Membership is on an invitation basis only. Interested parties are welcomed to email tripartitecollective@tal.sg if they wish to find out more about the Tripartite Collective’s programmes and activities.

2 The report draws from qualitative interviews with over a dozen leaders from the government, employer groups and trade unions who are active participants in tripartite engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous edition of the report was first released by Stewardship Asia Centre in 2020.

Annex A and Annex B

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