I won't stop...
We made a visit to The American Club recently and caught up with AREU Assistant General-Secretary, Brother Muhammad Zaid Bin Idris. Spotting a sticker of Korean Pop Idol IU on his phone, we curiously popped the question. “Why IU?” The reply from Zaid came instantly “IU’s drive, passion, and the way she dedicated time for fans and people around her!” he said. Displaying the same drive to want to do more for the people he cares about, Zaid decided to volunteer his time as a Union Leader since 2018.
It was a steep learning curve
“At the very beginning, I didn’t really know what being a Union Leader meant but I know it would allow me opportunities to take care of my fellow workers. I asked myself repeatedly if I would be able to balance work, family, friends, and Union work, and if I was willing to make sacrifices for personal time. But eventually, I took up the offer.”
“And it was a steep learning curve” he shared. Besides being on the ground more actively, listening to workers’ concerns and feedback, he also had to learn the ropes and build up his Industrial Relations knowledge. “I was very nervous during my very first union-management meeting” he added. But Zaid was also lucky to have very supportive bosses and co-workers.
Uncomfortable situations are part of the experience but its worth it
“When my fellow co-workers are happy, it makes work happier too”.
Some of his key responsibilities as a Union leader include settling disputes between workers and being the middleman between employees and the company management. “I sometimes find myself in an uncomfortable position, but I won’t stop doing what I am doing because caring for the welfare of my co-workers have become quite a big part of me.” He chirps.
Winning the Comrade of Labour Movement Award
Being awarded the Comrade of Labour Movement Award that is conferred to serving trade unionists who have made significant contributions to their unions and are still active in their Executive Committees, Zaid shared that it was a pleasant surprise and an affirmation of the efforts he has put in.
“We have seen Zaid’s dedication and commitment, especially during the pandemic, as he fights to preserve the jobs of fellow co-workers.” said Irene Low, Executive Secretary, Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union.
The past few years have been a tumultuous time for many, and especially so for the hospitality and tourism sector. Zaid played a critical role during this period in representing workers’ interests and managing their expectations. Despite The American Club’s businesses being severely disrupted, there were no layoffs.
He also facilitated The American Club’s formation of the Company Training Committee, working hand in hand with the Union and NTUC in areas of skills training. Zaid was also passionate about youth related issues. Active in the Young NTUC committee since 2018, Zaid has on multiple occasions shared his views on youth empowerment and on bettering the future of workplace for young workers.
Through all these efforts, the American Club and AREU forged our close partnership. One of Zaid’s most memorable moments he shared was the day The American Club won the May Day award. His General Manager was awarded a union pin, and when he returned to his seat...
He turned to Zaid and put the pin on his blazer and said "Zaid was the one who deserved this."
A big congratulation to Zaid for winning the Comrade of Labour Movement Award. And in his words “I won’t stop because I care.”