Tributes to the late unionist G.Muthukumarasamy (or loving known to his contemporaries as Brother Kumar) were posted on social media over the weekend, after news of his passing made its rounds.
His name might ring a bell to those not in the trade union circuit, as he was one of the four people to deliver a eulogy for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew at his state funeral. He was clearly highly regarded by PM Lee Hsien Loong himself, who shared a post on Facebook calling him one of the heroes of the Labour Movement.
The late Mr G.Muthukumarasamy was the general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers (AUPDRW) and had been a unionist for 27 years. A Straits Times piece wrote that his son Mr M. Kunalan recounted a time when he came home to his father in tears because he was happy that his union members finally got their hardship allowance after a long struggle.
“That was the love he had for his union,” – Mr Kunalan
As general secretary for the AUPDRW, he was committed to improving the welfare of daily rated workers and successfully persuaded daily rated workers from statutory boards to upgrade their skills when the Government launched the National Skills Recognition System in 2000. In 2008, he worked with the National Environment Agency to implement a job redesign effort for cleaners. These workers saw sustained wage increases of more than 20 per cent after going for a WSQ course.
The general secretary of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Mr Ng Chee Meng as well as past general secretary Mr Chan Chun Sing also shared their tributes on Facebook.
Our leading ladies President Halimah and Madam Ho Ching also shared their heartfelt thoughts online.
“Through his work, he had raised the profile of the union and introduced benefits such as bursaries for his members’ children to help uplift their lives.”
– President Halimah
The late Mr G.Muthukumarasamy’s dedication to union work and tenacity in fighting for his members was echoed in a condolence letter sent to his wife by the Labour Movement.
He must have touched the hearts of many, with a Mr Tommy Lin talking about how they met and their shared union experiences.
RIP, Brother Kumar.