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Union SOS Provides $3 Million

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A seamen's union will hand out $3 million in the next two years to help shipping companies reduce operating expenses as they navigate a turbulent world economy, reports The Straits Times.

The money from the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS), a global maritime union set up in 1971 and affiliated to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), will be used in existing schemes that subsidise the accommodation, medical and training needs of seafarers.

Mr Kam Soon Huat, general secretary of SOS, told The Straits Times: “Workers are doing their part through the union to help companies through the tough times. It's not a very big sum, but hopefully this gesture will help members remain employed and continue to get training.”

SOS will provide support to its 20,000 members from next year in the form of $1 million as vouchers to companies to use at the Seacare Hotel, which is owned by the union, and $2 million to be split between the union's medical and training schemes.

Huat has said that its workers are “doing their part through the union to help companies through the tough times” and will help train members and keep them employed.

It is the second NTUC affiliate to support shipping companies after last week saw the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union announcing subsidies for 6,000 hotel rooms for seamen over the next two years at a cost of $300,000.

Labour chief Chan Chun Sing announced the new aid at the SOS' 45th anniversary celebrations at Resorts World Convention Centre on December 1.

The shipping industry contributes 7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product and employs more than 170,000 workers.

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