Let's talk about higher wages in S'pore's cleaning sector

The updated Progressive Wage Model will raise workers' wages. But effort must be made to check errant practices in the industry and to educate service buyers on the ills of cheap sourcing.

Education of the end consumer, such as the property owner, and the service buyer, such as the property manager who engages the cleaning company, on the demerits of cheap sourcing will go a long way in creating a fair sharing of costs, says the writer
Education of the end consumer, such as the property owner, and the service buyer, such as the property manager who engages the cleaning company, on the demerits of cheap sourcing will go a long way in creating a fair sharing of costs, says the writer.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) of my industry, cleaning, is in the news again. This time the adjustments and increments of the wage floor for 2023 to 2028 are a lot steeper than previous years, with basic cleaner wages to reach at least $2,420 in 2028.

With basic wages now at $1,312, the increase represents a jump of about 84 per cent over six years, which works out to an annualised increase of about 10 per cent a year. In a sector where labour wages make up to 70 to 80 per cent of total revenue, it is clear that current prices of services will be forced to rise to keep operations sustainable.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2021, with the headline 'Let's talk about higher wages in the cleaning sector'. Subscribe