The Government has adopted a multifaceted approach to help low-wage workers, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday.
It has offered them help and subsidies with housing, education, employment and health-care needs, he said after a fundraising and beach cleaning event organised by the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers (AUPDRW).
Mr Shanmugam believes the multifaceted approach has worked to "really push them up", but stressed the importance of upgrading their skills.
He was quoted by The Straits Times Online as saying: "You don't want to be in a situation where they are continuously doing the same job without upgrading. So we encourage the union and work with (them) to make sure their skills are upgraded.
"As a result, the kinds of jobs they are doing now are different from what they were doing earlier - though the actual cleaning up is the same."
He pointed to an increased mechanisation in jobs such as cleaning and maintenance, which has translated to higher salaries for workers trained to handle equipment involved in these tasks.
The East Coast Park event was attended by about 150 union members and representatives from donor companies. More than $100,000 was raised.
The money will fund the likes of student bursaries for children of union members, hospitalisation benefits and training programmes.
Mr Shanmugam added that the dwindling numbers of AUPDRW's members reflects the union's success in helping these workers to earn better salaries and a sign of Singapore's progress as a nation.
The members' salaries range between $1,200 and $1,700. They include cleaners, grave diggers and maintenance workers. Half are aged over 55.
The only remaining daily-rated union in Singapore, it has a membership of about 700 - some 600 less than in 1992.
Get The New Paper for more stories.