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.

Newspaper reports of IR issues and problems regarding SIA and its pilot union raised an important lesson – industrial relations can go wrong and we must handle union-management relations with care and understanding.

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.

The restoration of management rights under the Industrial Relations Act was an important development. However, all rights come with obligations and responsibilities, and failure to handle industrial relations issues correctly can result in serious conflicts and industrial relations problems, including strikes and industrial action.

Union leaders can, at times, be difficult and tough. They may overstep their boundary of what is deemed to be acceptable behaviour. On the other hand, management’s failure to understand and accept the roles of union leaders can be a contributing factor.

In the workplace, it is important for operational staff to handle day-to-day problems and grievances raised by employees and their union representatives effectively. Where necessary, supervisors and line-managers may have to be firm but fair.

Supervisors and line-managers must ensure that their responses and actions should not create industrial relations problems and issues. In short, they must know how to handle the situation and say and do the right things. They must also know the consequences if they mishandle situations, resulting in employees and union representatives raising industrial disputes.

This Workshop is designed for HR and operational staff in PCS to handle industrial relations problems correctly and effectively.


This 1-day workshop will provide participants with a good appreciation and understanding of the historical development of our Industrial Relations System, the concept of industrial peace with justice and the introduction of the various legislations such as: the Industrial Relations Act, the Trade Unions Act, the Trade Disputes Act, the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act, the Central Provident Fund Act, Employment Act, Workplace Safety and Health Act, the Work Injury Compensation Act and the Retirement and Re-employment Act.

Participants will learn about management rights and obligations in handling industrial relations issues. More importantly, participants will learn how to promote good industrial relations.

By the end of the Workshop, participants will be able to answer common questions such as:

  • What are the legislative measures to promote industrial peace with justice?
  • What are the rights and obligations of employers under the Industrial Relations Act?
  • What are management’s prerogatives?
  • What are the rights of executives joining a Rank-and-File Union?
  • What is collective bargaining and how are industrial relations problems resolved amicably?
  • What is the role of the Conciliators at the Ministry of Manpower?
  • How are disputes eventually resolved at the Industrial Arbitration Court (IAC)?
  • What must union do before it is allowed to go on strike?
  • What is anti-union and victimization?
  • How do we promote good labour-management relations without compromising our rights to manage and discipline union members and leaders?

Who should attend?

Line-managers, supervisors, executives and HR practitioners and any person interested in gaining an understanding of the Singapore industrial relations system and practices.

Course Outline

  • Introduction to the Industrial Relations System in Singapore
  • Legislations that promote industrial peace with justice
  • Employees’ right to join a union
  • Rights of executives joining a rank-and-file union
  • Management’s prerogatives (rights to hire, fire, transfer, etc.)
  • Collective bargaining, conciliation and arbitration process
  • The roles and functions of the Ministry of Manpower
  • The Industrial Arbitration Court
  • Collective Agreements and Awards
  • Strikes and industrial actions
  • Victimisation and anti-union activities
  • Case-studies
  • Promotion of good labour-management relations: roles of line-managers and supervisors


Lecture, discussion and question & 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.