Employers mostly support raising low wages

Employers mostly support raising low wages

FEEDBACK from companies and unions in Singapore has shown that employers are "generally supportive" of paying their low-wage workers more, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in Parliament yesterday.

He was updating the House on the recommendation by the National Wages Council (NWC) to give a $50 increase for workers earning less than $1,000 a month.

Responding to queries by MP Alex Yam (Chua Chu Kang GRC), Mr Tan said that his ministry's findings on the adoption of this recommendation will be available only next year; he did not cite a specific month.

However, Mr Tan disclosed the findings of a recent survey of 240 private-sector companies, done by the Singapore National Employers Federation.

Of this sample pool, 80 companies had workers drawing a basic monthly salary of under $1,000. Fifty of the 80 had decided on a wage increase between May and July.

Three-quarters of the 50 granted a raise of at least $50 to their low-wage workers.

The remaining one quarter, Mr Tan said, either had a large number of low-wage workers or were limited by existing contracts already signed with their clients.

On a separate note, MP Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) asked Mr Tan whether rules were in place for best sourcing and fair pricing when awarding Government procurement contracts. Mr De Souza said that such rules would pave the way for contracts and sub-contractors to indirectly benefit through the increment of wages.

Mr Tan replied that the Government was already working on two major sectors - cleaning and security - which employ large numbers of low-wage Singaporean workers.

"Announcements will be made once we're ready, but accreditation and different requirements will be woven in. The key idea is to make sure wages can move up for this segment of our population," he said.

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