PM Lee's May Day Rally to go virtual amid Covid-19 circuit breaker

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s annual May Day Rally will not be held in person this year, amid a prolonged "circuit breaker" to control the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

Mr Lee will instead deliver the message on national television and social media channels on Thursday evening, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has announced.

While the May Day Rally typically draws more than 1,500 unionists and their tripartite partners, “NTUC will be doing things differently across our key May Day events” amid the tightening of the circuit breaker, the national confederation of trade unions said.

As such, about 500 union representatives, employers and politicians are expected to take part in a closed-door virtual dialogue session with NTUC president Mary Liew and secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, as well as Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Singapore National Employers Federation president Robert Yap.

Meanwhile, NTUC is looking to go online for its celebration of migrant and domestic workers’ efforts.

It has cancelled its May Day Fiesta activities for union members and their families, and also scrapped its May Day Awards ceremony.

Alternative arrangements to honour the awardees’ contributions towards worker welfare will be unveiled at a later date, NTUC added.

“These are unusual times that call for an extraordinary display of spirit and gumption, whether from our union leaders and workers, to our tripartite partners, and even the May Day 2020 organising committee,” said NTUC assistant director-general Vivek Kumar in a statement. He added: “We stand in solidarity with our workers in these difficult times.”

Mr Lee’s May Day message will be aired at 7.30pm on Thursday. It will also be available on the Facebook and YouTube pages and websites of the Prime Minister’s Office and NTUC.