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Singapore: Industrial relations

Original and updating author: Ravi Chandran, National University of Singapore

Consultant editor: Julia Yeo, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore

Summary

  • Industrial relations are based on a tripartite system in which the state, employers and trade unions are jointly involved in decision-making processes relating to employment issues. (See General)
  • Singapore's Constitution guarantees freedom of association - that is, the right to form and join trade unions - but allows Parliament to restrict this freedom on certain grounds. (See Trade unions)
  • Collective bargaining between a trade union and the employer usually results in a collective agreement, which is legally binding on both parties. (See Collective bargaining and agreements)
  • There are no statutory obligations on employers to inform or consult employees, employee representatives or trade unions, except on transfers of undertakings. (See Informing and consulting employees - general)
  • There is no statutory requirement for employers to inform or consult employees, employee representatives or trade unions in the event of collective redundancies. (See Informing and consulting prior to redundancies)
  • The original employer must, as soon as is reasonable and before the transfer of the undertaking or part of it takes place, provide certain information to the employees affected and to any recognised trade union, to enable consultation to take place. (See Informing and consulting prior to transfers)
  • Industrial action is permitted only if it is in furtherance of a trade dispute within the trade or industry in which the people taking part in the action work. (See Industrial action and picketing)