The Straits Times
Published on Jan 04, 2013

Pay fair wages to draw locals to foreigner-dominated sectors


OUR heavy dependence on cheap foreign labour has caused many companies here to suffer, as the Government has rightly decided to tighten the foreign worker influx ("Tight foreign worker policy 'could stifle growth'"; last Saturday).

Cheap foreign labour has weighed on our wages and driven down productivity, as employers simply hire more foreign workers instead of thinking about how to increase productivity.

Many food and beverage (F&B) companies over-rely on foreign workers such that it is rare to find Singaporeans working for them.

This has got to stop.

Employers in the F&B industry have to pay decent wages to draw Singaporean workers; they have to think of innovative ways to attract locals.

It is not right for employers to always cry foul that Singaporeans are unwilling to work for them, when they pay them only $6 an hour.

Employers need to realise that they are paying unreasonable Third World wages to locals living in a costly First World country.

Singapore's future economy must be one that is dominated by a productive workforce comprising both local and foreign workers.

If firms cannot survive due to tighter foreign labour policies, then they just have to shut down as their over-reliance on cheap foreign labour has to stop.

Gilbert Goh


Transitioning - Unemployment Support Services