TL;DR – 1st May was a day of 5 firsts.
Around 1,200 unionists, business leaders, government officials and guests congregated at Downtown East, Pasir Ris for the annual May Day Rally.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the guest-of-honour at the event which saw many ‘firsts’:
1. Chan Chun Sing’s FIRST rally speech as NTUC Secretary-General
After being elected as Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress at the National Delegates’ Conference (NDC) last October, this May Day Rally was the first for the 46-year-old, as Labour Chief.
2. NTUC President Mary Liew’s FIRST resolution
Like Chan Chun Sing, 52-year old Mary Liew took to the stage for the first time at the rally to recite the Labour Movement’s May Day Resolution after being elected as NTUC’s second President in its history.
3. FIRST NTUC-NTU Partnership
To support mid-career workers in learning new skills, PM Lee Hsien Loong announced that the government will match $3 for every dollar raised by the NTUC to support the $200 million NTUC-Education and Training Fund (NETF).
PM Lee had said, ‘If you can raise $50 million, I will write the cheque for $150 million!”
NTUC will start partnering with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) first, to offer short courses to help working people keep up with technology and industry development.
4. Associates and SME affiliates flags FIRST appearance
For the first time in NTUC’s history, flags of the NTUC’s 31 U Associate partners, as well as those of the new NTUC Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Freelance and Self-Employed (FSE) units were paraded together with the 61 unions and associations.
Traditionally, only the flags of NTUC’s 61 unions and associations were paraded at the annual May Day Rally.
This signifies the Labour Movement’s effort to bring in more worker groups (PMEs, Freelancers and Self-Employed and SME workers) into its fold.
5. 3-generations of NTUC leaders on stage for the FIRST Time
Appearing together on stage for the first time was NTUC President Mary Liew (right), Immediate Past President Diana Chia (centre) and Emeritus President John De Payva (left).
They appeared on stage for the recitation of the May Day Resolution.
Ms Diana Chia stepped down at the last National Delegates’ Conference in 2015 after being its President since 2011.
Mr John De Payva served as NTUC’s President from 1997 to 2011.
3 generations of Secretaries-General of the NTUC also appeared on stage for the May Day Resolution.
Mr Lim Boon Heng (left), who is currently NTUC Enterprise’s Chairman was Secretary-General from 1993 to 2006.
Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say (centre) served as Secretary-General from 2007 to 2015. He stepped down in May 2015 in line with its constitution which sees leaders stepping down upon reaching 62.
And of course, there’s current Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing (rigtht) who joined the NTUC in January 2015.
Now, wrapping up this with a video of PM Lee’s May Day Rally 2016 speech.
(Cover image via Straits Times)