Hotels tie up with union to redesign jobs, train staff

A group of 18 hotels signed agreements with a union yesterday to work together on redesigning jobs and training staff.

The hotels, which employ more than 6,000 workers in all, will form company training committees with the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) that will be part of the new FDAWU-Hotel Future of Work Partnership Network.

Union general secretary Tan Hock Soon said the network will allow know-how and initiatives, such as redesigning jobs for workers to harness technology, to be shared across partner hotels quickly, affordably and more sustainably.

"With synergised efforts, we can look to re-energise hotels' value proposition as employers, and use gains from (the network's projects) to improve wage, welfare and work prospect outcomes for every hotel worker," he added.

National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said at the signing event at Copthorne King's Hotel that by getting unions involved in training, "we hope to be able to partner the companies to nudge workers forward as well".

The hotels involved in the initiative include Shangri-La Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel and Conrad Centennial Singapore. The Ascott and Royal Plaza on Scotts, which formed training committees with the union earlier this year, will also be part of the network, bringing the total to 20.

The network will form a workgroup and begin redesigning security and engineering jobs in January with backing from the Institute for Adult Learning.

A skills recognition pathway for professionals in engineering, facilities and security teams will also be created, using information gathered from the job redesign project. Work begins next month.

The hotels said such projects will ensure workplace trends are captured and translated into clear and updated pathways that allow management to identify skill gaps, and in turn produce targeted programmes for staff.

The network will also work with NTUC LearningHub to train company and union representatives in strategic workforce planning as well as job analysis, design and redesign. The first class starts at the end of next month.

Mr Kung Teong Wah, general manager of Copthorne King's Hotel, said he hopes to send his staff for courses that are more tailored to the industry and the workers' competency levels. He suggested, for instance, that hotels could send their mature workers to an entry-level course together. "With the NTUC involved, the support is enormous, compared with me doing it alone, so things will get a lot better, faster."

Joanna Seow