Employment Relations in Singapore

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Introduction
In Singapore industrial relations is important as Singapore is a hub for global activities, if Singapore were to be an inequitable place to work in, it will result in Singapore being unattractive to people to work in and firms would not be enticed to expand their business in Singapore leading to low job creation. There are various systems in place in Singapore to create an equal playing field in industrial relations. But no system is perfect, in the essay I would be talking about the various policies and issues in Singapore and how the various approaches of social justice, economic rationalism and civil libertarianism and equal employment opportunity make Singapore’s industrial relations equitable The approaches to equitability

Civil libertarianism and Equal employment opportunity (EEO) is a strain of political thought that emphasizes individual rights and personal freedom over authority. This means that if employees feel that they are unfairly treated, they should have an avenue to seek redress. The HR department of the firm or The Ministry of manpower will look into the complaints of the employees and help to facilitate a compromise between the employers and employees. Without these avenues employers might discriminate workers and might implement unfair practices thus it is necessary for the law to intervene in industrial relationship to make it a level playing field of equal employment opportunities. Economic rationalists feel that the government should not regulate the market but give free reign to employers, which will in turn self-regulate to make it fair. But the problems persist as there is an unequal power balance which favours the employers. According to Bellows (2009) Singapore is a society which emphasises on meritocracy. Meritocracy is also one of the key principles which enable the approach of economic rationalism to work in any given country. As for the social justice approach, advocates of this approach feel that industries should be regulated by the government in order for it to be fair. In Singapore the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) form Tripartite Association for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) this would encompass the social justice system in Singapore as the tripartite regulates and recommends various HR initiatives for the parliament to debate and decide to legislate it.

Gender
According to a report by (CEDAW 2009) in Singapore the Singapore Constitution provides men and women with equal political, economic and social rights. Comparisons of the past and present show that negative stereotypes of women have been eliminated over time, largely due to increased levels of education and better job opportunities for women. This is in accordance with civil libertarianism’s approach to equality, as the law protects both men and women and gives them equal rights in industrial relations.

To further prove that Singapore’s Industrial relations is equitable, according to an economic review of Singapore in 2010 by (The Ministry of Trade and Industry 2011), the statistics show that women between the ages of 20-29 years old are taking up more management positions, senior official posts and professional positions. The proportions are 44,500 females whereas males take up 35,300 positions, but in the other age groups males still take up the bulk of these positions. This could be the result of a greater proportion of females getting higher level of education as compared to the previous decades (Ang 2006). The results of the statistics shows that the economic rationalist approach to equity applies in Singapore’s industrial relations as firms are free to hire anyone they deem fit based on merit.

But even though the law is supposed to prevent discrimination against gender inequality, it is still prevalent in Singapore according to the (Ministry of Manpower 2010) as females are earning less with a monthly...
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