Maritime Union Celebrates its 65 Birthday with 4,500 Members and the Less Privileged

In celebration of its 65th Anniversary, the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (SMOU) Annual Family Day this year will be held in Universal Studios Singapore (USS), where it will be a Nite Out at USS for the very first time. Acting Minister for Education (Schools) and Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng will be gracing the event on 28 May, and addressing some 4,500 union members and their families, representatives from shipping companies and beneficiaries of various communities and homes.

These beneficiaries who have been specially invited to join the occasion are children and single mothers from NTUC WeCARE for U, as well as elderly residents from Bright Hill Evergreen Home, Henderson Home, Hope Community Services Centre, Jalan Kukoh and Jamiyah Home for the Aged. Approximately 340 beneficiaries will be present that day.

SMOU was established in 1951. Since then, the union has grown from a membership base of about 400 in the 1970s to more than 29,000 members. Staying true to one of its core values, SMOU continues to show care for its members and the community, be fair to its seafarers and share with the less privileged. SMOU has been playing a pivotal role in promoting good industrial relations between seafarers (members) and their employers, the ship-owners and ship-management companies, and the government through its strong tripartite relationships with the local, regional and international maritime community.

It seeks to improve the wages and working conditions of members in the maritime industry through collective agreements with shipping companies which employ them.

Contributing S$1.5 million to members and Collective Agreement (CA) Companies

In February, the Union announced that it recognised the current challenges faced by the shipping industry such as the low freight rate and oversupply of vessels that inevitably has a trickle-down effect on the members. To cushion this impact as well as promote good labour management relations, SMOU is contributing S$1.5 million to the members and shipping companies. This is to encourage the shipping companies that have CA with SMOU to have training and better welfare on board the vessels. The initiative will help ensure that members continue to receive adequate welfare and training despite the economic uncertainty and it is also a gesture to thank the CA companies for their support as a tripartite partner and tide them over the slowdown.

Since 1993, SMOU has helped distressed seafarers claim more than US$19 million of unpaid wages. SMOU is an affiliate of NTUC, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the Nautilus Federation.

Source: Singapore Maritime Officers'