18.35 Activism - Young Union Leaders
Someone to Turn to

For Evelyn Goh, 33, joining the Singapore Port Workers Union (SPWU) in November 2011 was one of the best things she could have done.

The bubbly Senior Management Service Assistant at PSA Corporation Ltd explains that she did not join the union for the benefits. “It was for a place to turn to if I face problems at work. It provided an assurance for me.” For her, a union represents a point of contact for employees to seek assistance. Hence, now that she is a unionist, she is ready to listen.

Walking the talk
“I started as a spokesperson, and advanced to becoming a delegate. Last year, I became an executive council member. At this stage, I was involved in various meetings and gained a much clearer picture of issues raised by members. Additionally, we attend union courses conducted by Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute to learn in-depth about our responsibilities and the potential cases we could face as union representatives.

All these experiences make me further appreciate the work done to help members gain closure to their problems. As union representatives, we think of ways to solve issues without advancing them to higher levels of management, always aiming for a win-win resolution.

For learning this, I have to thank our union seniors for their guidance. Without any hesitation, they share their experiences and act as a compass to steer us in the right direction.”

Symbiotic relationship
“PSA was conferred the Plaque of Commendation (Star) Award at this year’s May Day Awards. It was a recognition of our longstanding excellent labour-management relationship.

As a union member, I dare say this award is a testament of the efforts of PSA and SPWU. It is assuring to know that the stakeholders are working hand-in-hand to improve work processes and streamline operations to ensure our staff can continue to work effectively.

As with all relationships, I believe it’s all about give-and-take. Through strategic communication, all parties are willing to go the extra mile to provide help or reach a win-win solution.”

Thankful for self-growth
“At the first Young NTUC committee meeting I attended, I found the atmosphere pleasant and warm, with a positive synergy. Fun and jokes aside, there is a pool of resources for us to tap into, as well as an avenue to learn from each other even though we come from different industries and backgrounds.

Young NTUC has also held discussions on national issues, which provide another channel for us to feed our members’ concerns to the respective authorities.

I feel I have grown over these few years, especially when I became more involved with union work. I notice I am more independent, and confident when organising activities with my committee members and handling queries by members. I am proud of what I can do and as long as I continue to be a part of the union, my purpose is to serve my members within my means.”