Much being done to help those in landscape industry

We thank Mr Foo Kwang Sai for his letter (What landscaping tripartite cluster can do to help workers' lot; Dec 7).

When the Landscape Progressive Wage Model (PWM) was implemented in 2016, the minimum starting salary of an entry-level landscape maintenance worker was set to be at least $1,300.

With the necessary training and skills, landscape employees are able to take on higher job levels and be paid more.

The Tripartite Cluster for Landscape Industry (TCL) also recommended a wage range which gives companies the flexibility to pay deserving employees higher wages. Because this base salary has not changed since 2016, the TCL introduced annual wage increment, in its latest recommendations.

Based on the Ministry of Manpower's Occupational Wage Survey, the median wages of landscape maintenance employees have increased by 8 per cent annually between 2015 and 2017.

After many rounds of consultations, the TCL recommended annual increments to all PWM base wages over a six-year period.

The wage increases will take effect from 2020 to allow sufficient time for the industry to plan their budget and contract pricing.

Under the PWM, landscape maintenance employees are expected to attain a certain level of competency through Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training. While it may only be a proxy, it enables landscape employees to acquire the required skill sets to do their work. Landscape companies are also being urged to adopt technology to step up productivity in the face of the manpower shortage in the industry.

TCL will also engage service buyers to share the PWM's possible impact on contract prices; and encourage them to adopt more progressive procurement practices.

The public can also do its part to recognise landscape maintenance employees. A simple act of acknowledgement goes a long way.

Efforts to uplift the industry are ongoing.

Zainal Sapari

Chairman

Tripartite Cluster for Landscape Industry

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2018, with the headline 'Much being done to help those in landscape industry'. Print Edition | Subscribe