Labour and Singapore's second industrial revolution

Leggett, Chris (1994) Labour and Singapore's second industrial revolution. In: Jackson, Sukhan, (ed.) Contemporary Developments in Asian Industrial Relations. UNSW Studies in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations in Asia (3). University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, pp. 77-97.

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In 1979, the People's Action Party Government of Singapore committed the city state to the achievement of advanced industrial status by adopting a strategy of restructuring the economy. The new direction was to be away from labour-intensive, low technology manufacturing towards high technology and the high value-added production of goods and services. Part of the stated rationale for this strategy, apart from keeping pace with the changes in the world economy and the international division of labour, was the need to avoid the low wage trap and maintain the increase in living standards to which the Singapore workforce had become accustomed. Seemingly against all the odds, industrialization through the 1960s and 1970s had been achieved by, among other things, the government investing in infrastructure and moulding the character of industrial relations to make Singapore attractive to multinational corporate investment. For the Second Industrial Revolution, as the new direction has been called, industrial relations would have to be upgraded by legislation and through the application of the corporatist levers available to the government. In particular, organized labour was to be presented with a challenge as the locus of workforce control, in part emulation of the Japanese, was shifted closer to the enterprise. This chapter examines how that challenge was met, analyses the changes that organized labour in Singapore underwent in the 1980s in the light of theoretical explanations of labour and industrialization in Newly Industrialized Countries of East and Southeast Asia, and assesses the prospects for trade unionism in Singapore.

Item ID: 17112
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-7334-0381-1
Keywords: industrial relations, Asia, Singapore
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2011 23:16
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150306 Industrial Relations @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910401 Industrial Relations @ 100%
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