Forum: Industry needs notice before wage increases take effect

I refer to the Forum letters "Bring forward well-deserved wage adjustments for cleaners" and "Extend wage increases for cleaners to migrant workers" (June 10). The previous set of Progressive Wage Model (PWM) recommendations by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) has been agreed upon and locked in up to June 30, 2023.

This means that cleaners' PWM baseline wages will still increase in July this year and again in July next year. It is then only fair that the industry is given notice before the new recommendations take effect.

Hence, TCC has recommended a six-year schedule of wage increases to the PWM baseline wages from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2029.

The TCC's announcement on the enhanced PWM wage ladder this month allows a two-year lead time for the industry to plan. TCC advises service providers to be transparent with their service buyers in explaining how the likely increase in contract fees is computed to avoid the perception of profiteering.

TCC's recommended wages apply only to full-time resident cleaners (Singaporeans and permanent residents). For part-time cleaners, employers must pro-rate their wages based on the number of hours that the part-timer is required to work, as compared with the typical contractual hours worked by a full-timer in the same job.

On foreign workers, TCC recognises that employers incur many other manpower-related costs such as medical coverage and accommodation. It is with this consideration that the wage recommendations were not made mandatory for foreign workers.

The TCC had, nonetheless, recommended in its 2016 report that employers incorporate the key principles of progressive wages, in terms of skills, productivity and job responsibilities, to the wage structure of their foreign workers.

The TCC strongly urges all stakeholders to recognise that each stakeholder has a part to play to ensure our essential services workers in the environmental services industry can work with dignity and their job worth be valued and recognised.

It would require a whole-of-society effort and change of mindset to uplift the lives of cleaners to promote a fairer and cohesive society.

Zainal Sapari

Chairman

Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners