Some 30 years ago, as a junior public officer, I was encouraged to join and contribute to a workers’ union. Besides paying monthly subscriptions, I was asked to buy FairPrice shares and NTUC Income insurance. I bought both.
After I retired in 2010, I was told that I would be refunded my shares at the original $1 per share. I protested vehemently, and was assured of a policy review for retired workers with FairPrice shares and Income policies.
My terminated Link card was replaced with an NTUC Plus! card, to continue recording my purchases at FairPrice supermarkets for the annual rebate. Last year, though, I did not receive any rebate for my purchases.
Only after I enquired was I told that I must pay a $9 subscription monthly for 13 months annually to receive the four per cent rebate on my purchases. If not, I will be refunded my shares this year.
The 13-month annual fee, though, would negate the rebate. And FairPrice offers senior citizens only a two per cent discount on Tuesdays, compared to, for example, a three per cent rebate on Mondays and Fridays at another supermarket chain.
The contributions and subscriptions of workers, especially the pioneer generation, to the growth of NTUC’s supermarket and insurance enterprises are significant and should not be forgotten. Is it fair to pay these retired workers just $1 per share?
I hope that the treatment of retired union members holding FairPrice shares and Income policies can be explained.
LAU SWEE KWONG