Striking a new balance : tripartism and labour relations in post-colonial Singapore
Ho, Justin Chang Pern
Date of Issue2017
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Tripartism has often been recognised as the cornerstone of labour relations in Singapore and the key to its success in nation building and economic development. Nevertheless, there has been a lack of critical discussion over its structural dynamics, and its role in the development of Singapore’s industrial relations system. What were the actual relations between the different actors in the tripartite model? How have these relations and the dynamics of collaboration and consultation changed over time in the considerations of the transformation in Singapore’s economy over the last 50 years? This study traces the evolution of tripartism and labour relations in Singapore between 1965 and 1986, in the first twenty years of the country’s economic success story. It analyses the ways in which the state was able to posit itself as the main arbiter in the tripartite model, and to redefine the structure of industrial relations and the roles of trade unions in Singapore. This achievement rode on the government’s ability to deliver in the areas of employment, housing and among other things which legitimised the government’s ideology of “survival” and pragmatism.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University