Consider raising pay of foreign cleaners, too

Foreign visitors often comment on how clean Singapore is, perhaps not appreciating that there is an army of cleaners who make it that way.

These workers do a necessary job that most people don't want to do, yet they are among the most poorly paid in the country. Moves to raise the basic pay of local cleaners ("Steps to hike pay for 40,000 cleaners unveiled"; Dec 13) are therefore welcome.

However, a thought should also be spared for the migrant workers who make up a significant proportion of Singapore's cleaners and who are not covered by the recommendations of the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners.

Many work long hours and still receive significantly less pay than what most local cleaners receive in a normal working week.

Bangladeshi cleaning workers are generally paid between $500 and $800 a month and work 12-hour days, whereas the current target for basic pay for a local worker is at least $1,000 a month for a standard working week, although they perform similar work.

Isn't it time a determined effort was made to raise the pay of these low-paid workers, too?

Noorashikin A. Rahman (Dr)
Transient Workers Count Too

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2016, with the headline 'Consider raising pay of foreign cleaners, too'. Print Edition | Subscribe