Shouldering costs so our lower wage workers can be paid more

Recently, it was announced that the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for cleaners, security guards and lift and escalator technicians would see a greater increase, effectively boosting the salaries of all these workers.

That’s great news but it also means that we, as consumers, must also play our part.

What it takes to implement wage increases for workers

It goes without saying that the wage increase has to come from somewhere. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees. Hence, to implement the wage increases, we need the cooperation of many parties, the bosses, the workers, consumers and also the government and unions.

The companies and employers

They have to agree that their workers deserve a higher pay. Their main concerns will be on profitability and productivity. Since giving their workers a higher pay often means that they will earn less profit, they also have to ensure that the company becomes more productive to bring in more earnings. These companies can invest in technology to improve productivity, but oftentimes, there is a limit to how much technology can help and workers are still required to operate the machines and technology.

low wage lift technicians

The workers

They have to be more productive and upskill to earn their raise. By showing initiative and the desire to learn and progress in their careers, they help convince employers that they are worth the pay raise.

The consumers –

That’s you and me. If bosses have to pay their workers more, they will have to charge more for the services provided. This means consumers will have to pay more for these services. Singaporeans living in HDB flats may see their conservancy fees increase. Likewise, those living in condominiums and private housing may see their maintenance fees increase. Nevertheless, if we agree that these lower-wage workers deserve a higher salary, then we ought to play out part by paying more for services.

The Government and unions –

They step in to help negotiate and provide a safeguard for the workers. This is to ensure that bad bosses will not fire workers indiscriminately. Or deny them the pay raises that they are due. The Tripartite Workforce has been negotiating on behalf of the workers and we have them to thank for the PWM that are currently in place.

The Government has actively been bringing in good jobs for the people by ensuring that our economy stays open. This attracts global companies which bring in more jobs for Singaporeans. The companies also bring in skills and expertise which they teach to their employees.

The unions have been fronting and encouraging all workers to upskill and stay competitive in the workforce. They understand that it may be tough for workers to pause work to attend training. After all, these workers depend on their earnings heavily. Hence, the NTUC Training Fund (SEPs) was launched to give workers a training allowance of at least $10/hr to attend training! This acknowledges that workers need money to cover their daily expenses and encourages them to be proactive about upskilling!

Moving forward to implementing PWM for more workers

The Government, alongside NTUC, has been pushing for the PWM to be introduced to the retail and F&B sectors too.

wan ling with low wage workers upskill

In her recent Facebook post, Labour MP Yeo Wan Ling shared on her visit to MacDonald’s Singapore. She praised the company for the progressive career opportunities that they provide to their employees. These opportunities have allowed many MacDonald’s staff members to upskill and work through the ranks over the years. She said, “The #LabourMovement will continue to engage and learn from our progressive employers on their best practices, and with our tripartite partners, we will work to uplift the lives of our workers.”

Indeed, good companies have shown that it is possible to provide employees with better career opportunities! These companies provide real wage increments and we hope for more good companies to come onboard for the workers’ benefit.

[irp posts=”8700″ name=”Making a case for the cleaners through the Progressive Wage Model”]


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