Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Wage Shock Therapy for Town Council Cleaners?

Just last year in 2012, during the May Day Rally, PM Lee said "No" to wage shock therapy proposed by  Lim Chong Yah and The Straits Times reported National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Lim Swee Say on Friday said raising wages for the lower-income strata in Singapore would be a “very risky” move.

Professor Lim, who chaired the National Wages Council from 1972 to 2001, had proposed raising the monthly salaries of workers who earn $1,500 or less by 50 per cent over three years, while freezing the wages of those who earn monthly incomes of $15,000 or more for the same period to help to close Singapore’s growing income gap.

While there was an outright rejection at the point of Prof Lim's proposal of the radical approach, it appears that his proposal has actually taken root in government policies though it has not been referred to as "wage shock".

While the tripartite partners appear to be pushing for a different approach, the Progressive Wage Model, the execution of it appears to be equally shocking as well.

In recent days, the mainstream media has been constantly priming us for price increases. Consumers are being told that costs are rising as manpower remains tight, more needs to be paid for better service and such.

Out of the blue, the Town Councils can sign an MOU to raise cleaners' wages to by 20% from $1000 to $1200 despite not having undergone any trainings or significant improvements in efficiency.

"We would like to increase productivity, improve their skills and their salaries, so as to provide better services for our residents," said Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman of the PAP-run town councils. Please show us the improvements before raising our service and conservancy fees again.

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