Speaking to reporters, the secretary-general of the Natioanl Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Lim Swee Say, said “‘Today, our challenge is that we are too foreign worker-centric.”

This was reported in the Straits Times on April 14, 2012. Lim, who is also a minister without portfolio, added, “I, as secretary-general, feel that we need to get everybody to shift their attention… what we really, really need is to apply our minds to productivity, innovation and skills.”

He said employers tell NTUC that to solve their manpower shortage, they need more foreign workers. This excessive focus that employers and workers have on foreign workers is a “roadblock” in the drive to raise productivity.

Union leaders, on the other hand, say that for wages to go up, the number of foreign workers needs to be reduced — the newspaper reported him as saying.