In Relations Actors and Legal and Institutional Frame

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In Singapore, there are several areas that need to be focus
on. They are Legislative and Institutional Framework for Industrial Relations,
Industrial Relations Actors and Legal and Institutional Frame work and Practice
of Collective Bargaining. The legislation on labour standards considers different
acts that address different labour matters (Appex 1). The main acts that play
important roles are Employment Act, Industrial Relations Act and Trade Unions
Acts. These acts help to improve the efficacy of collective bargaining between the
employer and his employees.


Employment Act covers all sorts of benefits such as
maternity benefits, working hours, overtime pay, paid sick leave, annual leave
and rest day. However, employees who are classified under contract of service
are omitted from the benefits of coverage. This exception includes people in the
higher level such as confidential, managerial and executive positions. Not only
that, the act also excludes maritime workers, domestic workers and people who
work for the government or statutory board. These groups of people who are excluded
under Employment Act have their issues taken care by the Industrial Relations
Act. This is to ensure that unions will be engaged in collective


Before going into in-depth details, the most dominant form of
collective bargaining in Singapore is the tripartite industrial relations
system. Tripartite refers to the involvement of three parties which are the
employers, unions and the Government. This system is also the key competitive
advantage for Singapore. The partners involved are the Ministry of Manpower
(MOM), Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), and the National Trades
Union Congress (NTUC). The common goals shared among all the parties are to
develop and maintain industrial harmony as well as to have a productive and
efficient workforce in order to help Singapore stay competitive globally.

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With the guidelines of tripartite, it helps to avoid
conflicts and clear misunderstanding through dialogue by considering the needs
and concerns of both parties. Tripartite helps to address different issues like
how the business can run and grow efficiently, wage increase, working
conditions and employment opportunities. With the help of tripartite
partnership, people can work more closely and successfully together by
resolving differing ideas and problems in a more judicious way. Hence, it will
eventually benefit both employers and employees at the work place.


To ensure that the collective bargaining process is valid,
there are a few compulsory steps to get the Collective Agreements certified.  There must be an agreement between an employer and the trade union on
the employees’ term and conditions of employment. There is a minimum of 2 years and maximum
of 3 years for the Collective Agreement to be valid. Once the parties
have agreed with the Collective Agreement, the documents have to be submitted
to the Industrial Arbitration Court for certification for one week from the
date of signing of the agreement.


In cases where the agreement cannot be done at employer’s
level, the employer or trade union can request help from the MOM for conciliation
assistance. The court has the authority to enforce it. All the proceed will
take effect within 14 days upon the receipt of the notification from either
party. If the conciliation at MOM still does not help with the situation, the
Commissioner will be notified of the deadlock.

Categories: Workforce


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