LOW-WAGE WORKERS SALARY PRODUCTIVITY
Singapore – To realistically raise the wages of low income workers in Singapore, a comprehensive and active strategy must be agreed upon to improve overall quality of life, Tan Chuan-Jin, manpower minister, has said.
While a majority of low wage workers have seen better real incomes over the past five years, Singaporeans in specific occupations are still not receiving any salary increment. These include office cleaners, who are amongst the lowest paid in the workforce.
To raise wages, Tan said the country has to first ensure it recovers quickly each time the economy takes a dip, since the incomes of lower-wage workers are badly affected when the economy falls into recession.
Secondly, Singapore must invest in and continuously improve the productivity, innovation and skills of companies and workers. Tan warned without significant productivity improvements in the next decade, the nation will not be able to improve incomes on a sustained basis for Singaporeans.
Finally, it must be ensured that lower-wage workers benefit from growth, he said.
“To summarise, we are addressing the problem of low-wage through a multi-pronged approach. First, broad-based approaches to improve productivity, skills and incomes; and second, targeted approaches that address issues specific to certain sectors,” Tan said.
“Not just economy-wide incentives, but industry by industry, company by company, working on a tripartite basis to put in place concrete plans to restructure companies' operations, upgrade jobs and tie-in wage gains with productivity improvements.”
Tan stressed that while government will do its part, it will also work with business-owners, unions and workers to ensure the country makes real progress, so that all Singaporeans, especially lower-wage workers, can look forward to better jobs and higher incomes.
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