Published: 13 July 2016
Mr Hareenderpal Singh, President, Union of Security Employees (USE)
Mr Zainal Sapari, Chairman, Security Tripartite Cluster
Mr Steve Tan, Executive Secretary, USE
USE Executive Council Members
Management Partners and Delegates of USE
Good morning. I am very happy to be here at the General Convention of Delegates.
Progressive Wage Model and the Union's role
2. I am heartened to hear from Mr Singh that the proposed implementation of the Progressive Wage Model (or PWM in short) has been well received on the ground. Indeed, the Union of Security Employees has been instrumental in facilitating these efforts since day one.
3. The PWM aims to raise productivity, wages and professional standards in the security industry. Successful implementation of the PWM will benefit security officers, help security companies raise competency levels and ensure better level of security outcomes to clients. It will also improve Singapore's overall safety and security.
4. Plans for the Sep 2016 implementation date of PWM were announced two years ago. I thank NTUC, USE and the many security agencies for their strong support and for sending their security officers for training to meet the PWM training requirements. However, preparations have been uneven on the ground. We have less than two months to go before the 1 Sep start date for PWM, and yet there are still many security officers who have not yet been sent for training to meet the PWM requirements. I therefore urge security agencies to give greater priority to this. Please work together with NTUC and USE to implement PWM well. With effect from 1 Sep, the Police Licensing Regulatory Department will be including PWM wage and training requirements into the licensing requirements of security agencies. Security agencies must make every effort to get themselves ready to meet PWM requirements.
Security Industry to Deepen Skills and Expertise
5. Besides playing a key role in implementing the PWM, the Union has worked hard to improve the image and professionalism of the security workforce. I commend your efforts in developing career tracks to improve the quality of security jobs, and also engaging buyers to implement best-sourcing practices.
6. For the private security industry to grow and meet new challenges, we need to have a spirit of continual learning and seek to deepen skills and expertise. As part of the national SkillsFuture movement, we recently gave out four study awards valued at $5,000 per award to encourage private security officers to pursue security-related Diploma and Degree courses. In fact, one of the award recipients, Patmanaban Soman, is a USE member. Applications for the next round of awards will open later this year. I encourage security officers to seize such developmental opportunities, upgrade your skills and develop your career in the industry.
7. Let us continue this longstanding tripartite partnership between the unions, employers and the Government, to build a highly-skilled security workforce that can meet the demands of a changing economic and security environment.
Security Industry as Partners in SG Secure
8. Today, we face dangerous and complex security threats. Terrorist attacks are taking place closer to home. In January, ISIS supporters carried out coordinated attacks in central Jakarta. Just two weeks ago, extremists linked to ISIS carried out a grenade attack at a nightspot near Kuala Lumpur.
9. For Singapore, it is not a matter of "if", but "when" a terror attack will happen here. We need to prepare ourselves to prevent and respond to a terrorist attack.
10. The SG Secure movement was announced earlier this year by Minister for Home Affairs and Law Mr K Shanmugam. SG Secure aims to sensitise, train and mobilise Singaporeans to play their part. It also seeks to equip everyone with knowledge and skills in first-aid, CPR and AEDs to care for themselves and their families in the event of an attack.
11. The security industry can play an active role in SG Secure. In the Paris attacks of November 2015, a security guard saved thousands of spectators from being injured when he prevented a suicide bomber from entering the Stade de France, where some 80,000 spectators were gathered. The casualty toll would have been higher if not for the vigilance and quick thinking of the security guard.
12. Your experience as security personnel will also be instrumental in ensuring a coordinated community response to counter terrorism. I urge all of you to participate actively in the various SG Secure activities and be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle crises and incidents with composure and confidence. MHA will be working closely with USE to collaborate on joint SG Secure initiatives.
13. In closing, I wish to thank the Union for your initiatives and support in transforming and improving the security industry. To all candidates standing for election, I wish you all the best. Thank you.