Transformation the key to survival for firms amid crisis: Labour chief

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Companies that are not struggling to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 crisis should keep the need for long-term transformation in mind, urged labour chief Ng Chee Meng yesterday.

They should also look for opportunities during the pandemic to grow their businesses, he noted during a virtual press conference to share the National Trades Union Congress' (NTUC) strategy to help workers hit by the economic fallout due to Covid-19.

Mr Ng noted that more companies are turning to technology during the prolonged pandemic to grow their customer base, and he called on more to do the same.

Some have also tapped business opportunities created by the crisis, like Certact Engineering, which converted some of its production lines to manufacture components for medical equipment such as Covid-19 test kits and ventilators.

The local precision engineering firm has about 45 workers, and it provides services such as plastic welding, thermo-forming and plastic heat treatment.

Certact Engineering had to remodel its manufacturing processes and redesign jobs to support its new line of business, Mr Ng said.

The recently unionised company is also working with NTUC to train workers for the new production lines.

Transformation could be the key to survival, Mr Ng said.

"Don't and perish, or it's do and survive," he added.

He urged companies to tap Government grants rolled out to encourage worker training during the economic downturn.

He also called on them to focus on their industry transformation maps on coming out of the crisis stronger, with workers better prepared for the future.

Mr Ng was referring to the $4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme where road maps have been developed to encourage technological innovation among companies. - THE STRAITS TIMES