Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

Task force to study how to raise wages of low-income workers: Ng Chee Meng

SINGAPORE – A new task force will be formed to study how to raise the wages of low-income workers and push productivity growth.

In a Facebook post on Sunday (Oct 11), secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Ng Chee Meng said the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower Wage Workers will study how to expand the progressive wage model and partner companies to raise productivity to “foster a win-win for employers and workers”.

He added that this had been the result of a meeting with Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and the president of Singapore National Employers Federation Robert Yap earlier on Sunday.

Mr Ng said the idea of the progressive wage model had first been mooted by NTUC in 2012 and implemented in sectors with large numbers of low-wage workers.

“Today, close to 80,000 workers in the cleaning, landscape and security sectors have seen their incomes increase based on built-in yearly wage increase as part of the (model),” said Mr Ng.

He added that wages have also been further raised through other initiatives, such as the Workfare Income Supplement.

NTUC has also submitted a proposal to the Government on developing the model in the waste management sector, and advocated for the development of proper rest areas for outsourced workers, said Mr Ng, pointing out that this led to the Ministry of Manpower announcing the Workcare initiative in 2019.

He said the new workgroup will let NTUC push for the development of mandatory progressive wage models in more sectors, and allow for the study of other approaches towards raising the wages and well-being of lower income workers, such as through sectoral or occupational wage benchmarks for sectors where it is more difficult to implement the progressive wage model.

“Together with tripartite partners and industry stakeholders, we will put our heads and hearts together to uplift the wages and well-being of even more lower wage workers,” said Mr Ng.

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