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“I get a lot of satisfaction from keeping the workspace spick and span. It’s like giving the others a conducive environment to work in, it makes my work purposeful,” Aunty Chan tells me. “No matter what your role in life is, everyone can excel in what they do as long as they put their heart into it.”

To many workers like Mdm Chan, the PWM, together with Workfare Income Supplement have helped to uplift their lives. However, there’s more that we can do for them as we progress together as a country. Perhaps all of us - Government, employers, unions, and Singaporeans alike – have a role to play in the way we support them.



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Meet the people who have been faithfully speaking up and working to uplift low wager workers including the 'father' of Progressive Wage Model.

Mr Lim Swee Say believes that these workers must be assured of career progression and that wage growth should not be stagnant. He believes that workers can upskill, be promoted and hence receive higher salaries. Therefore, he designed the PWM to be a wage ladder rather than Minimum Wage which would become a wage ceiling. It is this unwavering belief that saw the birth of the PWM and the uplifting of lower wage workers!



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twelve cupcakes

The Food Services industry employs a large number of low-wage workers. There is a need to hold companies accountable for workers’ wages and welfare, and this includes paying their salaries on time, and in full.

In February, Twelve Cupcakes employees voted in favour of the Union to represent them. The successful unionisation of Twelve Cupcakes, was announced by the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) in a Facebook post. Good move. The Union is working closely with the management to improve the workers’ well-being, uplift wages and upskill the workers in preparation for the economy’s recovery.



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Government accepts higher wages proposed for Cleaners by Tripartite Cluster

What we aim to achieve in Singapore through our tripartite partnership is to have a growing economy which is both pro-business and pro-worker, Mr Chee said. This is ultimately a whole-of-society effort, as the PWM is not only an economic policy but an important part of our social compact.

As such, he urged everyone to support these efforts through our purchases as consumers, and to signal to companies that we are prepared to pay a little more for essential services so that our workers can earn higher wages.



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Minimum Wage vs Progressive Wage Model

Move aside the national minimum wage. The Labour Movement has made huge progress in increasing the productivity of the workforce and helping improve the welfare of low-wage workers through various schemes, like the Job Redesign programme targeted at older workers so smarter jobs can be catered for them.

The tripartite efforts have resulted in many opportunities for workers to up-skill and access training workshops to broaden their skill sets which can help in their job search and overall social mobility.



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