Labour chief hits out at security firms body

Labour chief hits out at security firms body

SINGAPORE - The labour movement has hit out at the Security Association of Singapore for resisting its move to raise the wages of security guards.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will not allow the association - which represents about 130 security firms - or anyone to stand in its way of raising low-wage workers' salaries, warned labour chief Lim Swee Say on Tuesday.

Said the NTUC secretary-general: "The association, somehow it expressed its reservations for reason(s) unknown to me.

"But we believe that it's due to a lack of understanding, or maybe some of them only see (the) business scheme and cannot see the need for a worker scheme."

Referring to the labour movement's progressive wage model introduced in June last year, he warned: "But let me be very clear, we will never allow any one of them to slow us down."

Last month, the security association rebuffed NTUC's attempt to raise security guards' pay via the model, which seeks to increase the salaries of workers in low-wage jobs through training and productivity gains.

"It is for them to support our idea, not for us to agree to their way of doing things," association president T. Mogan said then.

NTUC had been in talks with the association to set basic pay at $1,000, on a par with that set for cleaners. But Mr Mogan said higher basic pay would raise overheads, and preferred firms to have flexibility in raising pay without a model prescribed onto them.

He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

On Tuesday, Mr Lim told a biennial meeting of 1,100 union leaders, employers and officials that he "recognised that there could be resistance".

But he stressed that NTUC will continue to engage organisations that represent employers, saying: "We will engage all of them, because the more people who come on board, the faster, the wider we can implement the programme."

Next year, he added, will be a "breakthrough year", when some 100,000 low-wage workers can expect a pay hike.

NTUC said it wants "more companies in more sectors implementing the model for more workers". It will set up a group of internal progressive wage experts to drive the implementation. No details of the group were available.

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