Membership Fee Increase
Frequently Asked Questions
Union membership fee is set by a formula at 0.5% of the median wage of workers. The current fee of $8 per month was set in 2000 when the median wage was $1,700. The median wage has increased over the years and as of June 2004, the median wage stands at $1,800.
Although median wage have increased and despite the increase in costs of running the union operations, the NTUC and its affiliated unions have resisted any increase in the fees because we are concerned with the impact any increase would have on our fellow members, particularly the lower income. In fact, for the STU, we relied heavily on fund raising activities and surplus from activities to supplement the income from union membership fees.
The NTUC and its affiliated unions must continue to remain a strong voice of our workers. The fee increase will put the NTUC and its affiliated unions on a sound and sustainable financial footing so that it can effectively protect and implement more programmes for the benefit of our workers.
The NTUC and its affiliated unions will be channeling all the additional collections into programmes and activities for its members.
2. We do not see the value of union membership and find it difficult to accept the increase.
Union members currently enjoy a host of benefits and privileges from the NTUC and its affiliated unions.
Although not many members can see or benefit directly from the union’s work and services, the union plays an important role at the workplace. The union is the collective voice of the workers, and ensures that workers are treated fairly. For the STU, we represent members on workplace issues by giving sound advice and providing representations when the need arises. Much of the work is done behind the scenes, because it is more effective to do so. (When negotiations are conducted publicly, it puts both sides on the defensive.) The STU also conducts a host of activities for our members as well as provide development courses for members’ professional upgrading.
Besides enjoying the collective strength of the union at the workplace, union members also enjoy many benefits and services provided by the NTUC and the NTUC cooperatives.
You can refer to the member’s handbook “Better Protection, More Help” for a better understanding. A copy has been sent to every union member.
3. How will the $1 collected be spent?
In accordance with the current arrangement between the NTUC and its affiliated unions, unions pay NTUC an affiliation fee based on 25% of the union membership fee.
That means that with the increase in membership fee of $1, 75% or $0.75 will go to the respective member’s union, while 25% or $0.25 will go to the NTUC.
As a result of the fee increase, the NTUC will collect an additional $3 per member per year, whereas the union will collect an additional $9 per member per year.
The NTUC will use the additional collections to provide members with more benefits and services, in particular the lower income and needy members. For a start, it will launch a $1.15 million “Back to School” project for the school-going children of union members. This project is in addition to the more than $1 million that the NTUC and its affiliated unions have been giving for education grants, bursaries and scholarships for the children of union members in 2004.
As for the STU, we are currently studying the feasibility of enhancing our members’ welfare and medical benefits. This is one of the ways that the additional $1 fee increase will be utilized.
Last but not least, the STU will continue with our array of membership programmes and activities. Meanwhile, we will also explore new niche areas of growth so as to provide optimum benefit for our members.