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Singapore Launches Working Group To Develop Representation For Gig Workers

Published on: September 7, 2022

Authors: Michelle Swinden

Topics: China, Japan & Asia-Pacific

The working group has been brought together to ‘navigate this new terrain of industrial relations in the platform industry’. The intention of the working group is to develop clearer processes and rules for the platform companies, as well as empowering platform worker representatives to negotiate their interests.  The working group includes senior representatives of key ride/delivery companies including ComfortDelGro, Grab*, Lalamove and foodpanda. (* Uber sold its South-East Asian business to Grab in 2018).

While NTUC affiliated associations exist in Singapore for freelance taxi drivers, hire car drivers and delivery persons, these workers are not considered employees and are therefore not currently entitled to formal union representation.

The initial meeting of the working group determined three deliverables:

  1. To propose a framework for a representative body to seek mandate to represent platform workers collectively;
  2. To propose the scope of issues that can be negotiated between a platform company and a platform worker representative body; and 
  3. To propose a dispute management framework to efficiently address disputes between negotiating parties.  

Draft recommendations are due by year end, with the final proposals slated for 2023.

Outlook for Employers: Singapore’s industrial relations environment is unique in Asia, with Tripartism “…. a key ingredient for harmonious labour relations and a strong social compact” (Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Manpower).  Nonetheless, gig platform companies globally should watch the developments with interest to evaluate the mechanisms for collective representation and bargaining scope which may prove popular in other Asian nations.

Michelle Swinden

Executive Director, Asia-Pacific, HR Policy Global

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Contact Michelle Swinden LinkedIn

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