As a nation, we have enjoyed industrial harmony for a long time, so much so that many line-managers, supervisors, HR practitioners and even unionists have taken industrial peace for granted.

The newspaper reports of SMRT bus drivers going on illegal strike and the intervention of the Manpower Minister in the dismissal of pregnant staff without maternity benefits are examples of how failure to handle employment issues properly can result in serious consequences. In many instances, it is the lack of understanding of our employment laws that contributes to the poor handling of the situation by management. This in turn leads to the escalation of problems.

Many people may not be aware that much of what we are enjoying today is the result of the Government’s efforts in promoting industrial peace, unions’ willingness to co-operate and employers’ enlightened approach in accepting responsible unionism.

Our legislative framework is built on the Government’s objective to promote “industrial peace with social justice”.


The legislations that give employers and investors “industrial peace” include:

  • The Industrial Relations Act
  • The Trade Unions Act
  • The Trade Disputes Act
  • The Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.

The legislations that offer employees and unions “social justice” include:

  • The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Act
  • The Employment Act
  • The Work Injury Compensation Act
  • The Retirement and Re-employment Act


The purpose of this workshop is to give Senior Management and Heads of Department (HODs) a good appreciation of how the various employment laws put together help the Singapore Government to achieve this objective of promoting “industrial peace” for employers and investors and “social justice” for workers and the unions.

Who should attend?

Senior management, c-level officers, board members, expat staff and MNC leadership, based locally or regionally.

Course Outline

1) 1st Day Session

Topics covered include:

  • 1) The Industrial Relations Act

    • Creation of an orderly industrial relations system through collective bargaining, conciliation and arbitration
    • Restoration of Management’s prerogatives
    • Protection of union members and officials against victimization and anti-union activities
    • Procedure for union recognition

  • 2) The Trade Unions Act

    • Need for unions to be registered with the Registrar of Trade Unions
    • Power of the Registrar of Trade Unions to prevent inter-union rivalry
    • Need for secret ballot among its members before any industrial action or strike by the union.
    • Immunity from Civil Actions

  • 3) The Trade Disputes Act

    • Definition of legality of strikes and industrial action
    • Rules on picketing
    • Conducting industrial actions in a peaceful manner
    • Consequences of illegal industrial actions or strikes

  • 4) The Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act

    • Protection of Essential Services in the event of industrial action or strike.
    • Notice to employers before any industrial action or strike.

Participants will learn how these legislations give employers and investors a peace of mind to operate their businesses in Singapore.

On the other hand, unions and workers would expect the Government to offer them a fair share of the economic pie as well as protection against unfair employment practices. In regards, the Government is able to achieve this by the enactment of the following legislations:

  • 1) The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Act

    • Compulsory contributions by employers towards the workers’ CPF account.
    • CPF Funds used for workers’ welfare and benefits

  • 2) The Employment Act

    • Provide statutory protection and benefits
    • Stipulations of minimum employment standards
    • Protection against unfair dismissal and practices
    • Handling discipline and misconduct
    • Investigation into misconduct
    • Conducting inquiry before dismissal

  • 3) Work injury Compensation Act

    • Provide insurance protection against workplace injuries
    • Offer financial compensation for permanent incapacity or death
    • Make occupational diseases claimable under the Act

  • 4) Retirement and Re-employment Act

    • Right of workers to work until retirement age of 62
    • Employers to offer re-employment until 65 subject to satisfactory performance and good health

Participants will learn and understand how workers’ rights are protected under these legislations and how they have helped the Government to promote “social justice” for workers.


Lectures, case-studies, mock sessions, discussion and question-and-answer sessions.


Chia Boon Cher, IR Guru
HRguru Pte Ltd

A specialist in employment relations and human resource management, Chia Boon Cher spent more than 16 years at Singapore’s Ministry of Labour (now the Ministry of Manpower) before joining the private sector in 1990.