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Raffles Hospital becomes unionised, 60% of staff to be represented by healthcare union

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Raffles Hospital will pay union membership fees of S$9 a month for eligible employees.

[SINGAPORE] Raffles Hospital, the flagship of mainboard-listed Raffles Medical Group, has become the first private hospital in Singapore to allow the Healthcare Services Employees' Union (HSEU) to represent its staff.

The medical firm signed an agreement on Monday to enable about 500 employees, including nurses, allied health staff and ancillary and administrative workers, to sign up as union members.

They comprise about 60 per cent of Raffles Hospital's total workforce and cover rank-and-file staff as well as professionals, managers and executives, said the hospital and union in a joint statement.

The agreement also involves setting up a branch committee of employees with an industrial relations officer from the union as a secretariat to give staff have an additional platform to discuss workplace issues with management.

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The union, which has more than 45,000 healthcare industry workers as members, will be able to represent workers in negotiations with the hospital if they have grievances.

Raffles Hospital will pay union membership fees of S$9 a month for eligible employees.

The hospital and union also said they are committed to helping staff upgrade their capabilities by identifying skills gaps and developing training programmes.

These could follow the approach of company training committees that have been set up by the union and public healthcare institutions such as Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National University Health System and NTUC Health.

Raffles Hospital presented a cheque of S$5,000 to the union at Monday's signing ceremony to support engagement activities for staff.

Raffles Medical Group executive chairman Loo Choon Yong said: "This collaboration with HSEU will allow our employees to stay ahead and remain relevant with ongoing industry transformation."

HSEU president and NTUC vice-president K. Thanaletchimi said the union looks forward to working closely with Raffles Hospital's management "to bring about win-win-win outcomes for our workers, the organisation and the healthcare industry at large".

Shares of Raffles Medical Group were down one Singapore cent or 0.99 per cent at S$1.00 at Monday's close.

THE STRAITS TIMES