Singapore Tripartism Forum
The Singapore Tripartism Forum (STF) was launched on 24 January 2007 by Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong and is designed to broaden, deepen and strengthen the spirit of tripartism through a structured framework. The forum provides a platform for the tripartite partners to table concerns and work together more effectively to overcome the complex economic challenges faced by Singapore.
STF was jointly set up by the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).
Tripartism in Singapore
Industrial relations in Singapore were confrontational in the 1950s and early 1960s, with high unemployment, poor working conditions, and social unrest. Independence, thrust upon Singapore in 1965, created an historic turning point.
Faced with a dire economic situation and limited resources, industrialisation was imperative for our survival as a new nation. The crucial challenge was to attract and retain foreign investment to create jobs for Singaporeans, and to achieve sustainable growth and development.
Towards this end, trade unions affiliated to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) supported the government’s call to move away from the traditional adversarial unionism and confrontational labour-management relations, with a shared conviction to strive for industrial peace with justice.
Our Shared Values
1. Shared Responsibility
For sustainable economic and social progress:
- The government must promote conducive environment for the economy to grow
- Businesses must be competitive in order to create wealth
- Workers must be employable and productive
The tripartite partners are committed to working together, as our shared responsibility, to reach consensus on necessary actions to:
- Attract and retain investments through progressive policies, enabling legislation, and harmonious industrial relations facilitated by the government
- Strengthen business competitiveness and productivity to enhance profits, and create higher value-added and better paying jobs
- Promote continuous learning, skills upgrading, and adaptability among workers to strengthen their employability, capabilities, earning capacity, and better quality of life
Towards this end, we will continue to formulate and review key economic and social policies, legislation, and guidelines on employment and industrial relations issues in tripartite institutions such as the National Wages Council, and ad hoc tripartite committees and advisory panels.
2. Common Understanding
We will provide more platforms for information-sharing, ongoing communication, and regular dialogue, to deepen common understanding of the increasingly complex and diverse challenges confronting workers and their families, employers, and our national interests.
3. Mutual Trust and Respect
Mutual trust and respect must be fostered, for frank exchange of views and genuine consensus in our strategic direction and response to challenges, through regular interaction and confidence in the mutual benefit of working together gained through experience over time.
4. Mutual Benefit
Employer representatives and union leaders must be able to garner support for their decisions and actions. The benefits must be seen and understood by both workers and management. Ultimately, policies and programmes formulated through our tripartite partnership must be effectively implemented, balancing the needs and expectations of all stakeholders.
Robust tripartite and bipartite relations which we have established over the years cannot be taken for granted. Relationships must be strengthened, deepened, and broadened, with each generation of leaders upholding the core tripartite values and the principles embodied in the Singapore Code of Industrial Relations Practice.
Tripartism will derive greater synergy by engaging more leaders and other partners at the national, industry and company levels, as well as in the wider community, to shape our future together and contribute to achieving our shared vision of a better life for all.