Yeo Guat Kwang: Let market decide wages of foreign workers

Yeo Guat Kwang: Let market decide wages of foreign workers
Above photo is Migrant workers gathered at the newly-opened Penjuru Recreation Centre yesterday.

SINGAPORE - Wages for foreign workers should be decided by the market, and, for many, Singapore is still the place where they can draw a higher salary compared to their home countries, said Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, the chairman of the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC), yesterday.

In fact, the attractive pay is a top reason why 60 per cent of work-permit holders will recommend their friends to come to Singapore to work, he added.

Speaking to reporters at the MWC's fourth International Migrants Day celebration, the Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency said a survey commissioned by the MWC and the Ministry of Manpower also showed that 90 per cent of workers, who hold S-passes and work permits, are satisfied with working here.

The study, released last year, surveyed 473 S-pass and 3,029 work-permit holders on their wages and living conditions.

Mr Yeo was addressing concerns over differing wages for workers of different nationalities.

Last Friday, National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Lim Swee Say said the idea of "same job, equal pay" is not the way to go.

The "same job, equal pay" debate started after SMRT bus drivers from China - unhappy with their lower pay compared to their Malaysian colleagues - went on a two-day illegal strike last month.

Yesterday, the Penjuru Recreation Centre, a 3ha leisure space for foreign workers in the west, was officially opened by Ms Foo Mee Har, an MP for West Coast GRC.

The centre is a result of a partnership between Jurong Town Corporation and the MWC.

The MWC said it will use the centre as a platform to reach out to foreign workers, through activities such as movie screenings, live telecasts of sporting events, variety shows and sports.

Next year, a market will also be included in the centre to cater to workers' grocery needs.

There are over 20,000 workers living in the Penjuru area, many of whom are in the marine and construction industries.

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