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Singapore – Labour movement wants breakthrough in low-wage workers pay

30 October 2013

The labour movement in Singapore wants low-wage workers to achieve breakthroughs in pay elevation next year through its progressive wage model, reports Channel News Asia. The plan is to launch accreditation schemes, by sector, to make progressive wages the norm for over 100,000 low earners.  

Over time the labour movement wants percentage increases for the pay of low earners to be higher than percentage rises in the national median wage.

The labour movement also intends to form an expert group to assist its affiliates and unionised firms to adopt the progressive wage model. The model champions skills upgrading, so productivity and wages can increase with higher quality jobs.

The labour movement wants to couple this strategy with quantitative guidelines issued by the National Wages Council to press home the need to elevate wages for low earners.

The scheme will be tailored for each sector and will identify firms that have adopted the labour movement’s new model. For professional, managers, and executives (PMEs), two new centres will be set up by the end of the year to offer assistance in finding jobs and addressing other employment issues.

Lim Swee Say, Secretary General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said: “The best thing that the workers can do [to look after businesses] is to upgrade their skill(s), upgrade their productivity, and spur up the pace of innovation. On the part of the businesses, the best thing they can do for the workers will be in terms of giving them better job prospects, career upgrading, as well as wage improvement(s).”

The labour movement said that this is crucial to support Singapore’s economic restructuring efforts.

For PMEs, the aim is to increase unionisation rates from 20% to 25%. For this, the NTUC will approach more professional bodies to form partnerships in tackling job placement, progression, and protection issues faced by white-collar workers.

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