3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Singapore

The ITUC affiliate in Singapore is the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

In practice

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Intimidation and harassment26-11-2012

On 26 November 2012, 100 Chinese bus drivers organised a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
demanding equal pay and payment for overtime work. The Singaporean authorities decided to deport 29 of them and prosecute five others. Four of them were released on bail, while one was convicted and received a six week prison sentence. The four drivers who were released on bail, as well as human rights defenders assisting them, reported being followed by Singapore’s internal security department on several occasions over the two months that followed. They filed a police report on the matter in January 2013, but no action was taken to stop the intimidation. Two of them also reported that they had been ill-treated. The government argued that the work stoppage was an illegal strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in an essential public service. However, the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
has determined that bus transportation is not an essential service.

Foreign domestic workers’ difficulties to organise30-11-2009

Foreign domestic workers have little opportunity to organise to defend their rights or demand improvements in their conditions of work. Labour laws exclude approximately 180,000 migrant domestic workers from key protections guaranteed to other workers, such as a weekly day off, limits on working hours, annual leave, paid holidays, and caps on salary deductions.

Migrant workers’ rights restricted30-11-2009

Restrictions on migrant workers’ rights to serve as an officer, trustee or staff member of a union (without prior written approval by the Minister) affect a significant percentage of the country’s workforce. According to the government’s Ministry of Manpower, at the end of 2007 the total work force in Singapore was 2,730,000 with 900,800 (33%) noted as foreign workers.

Strikes scarcely practised30-11-2009
Restrictions not applied30-11-2009

Practice suggests that many of the laws are outdated, as in reality many of the potential restrictions on trade union rights are not applied. The unions have called for these outdated restrictions to be removed from the country’s legislation.

Close ties with ruling party30-11-2009

With the exception of six unions, the rest of the country’s 61 unions are affiliated with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), which has close relationship with the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). The NTUC Secretary General currently serves on the PAP Central Executive Committee. The NTUC secretary general also holds a seat in the Cabinet as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. Trade unions may not contribute to political parties, and the NTUC does not permit members supportive of opposition policies to hold office. The NTUC-PAP relationship, which dates back to the founding of the NTUC in 1961, is described as “symbiotic” and was formally endorsed in 1980 at the NTUC Ordinary Delegates Conference. It was publicly reaffirmed in December 2004. Currently, there are 16 PAP MPs with direct or former ties to the NTUC.

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