The National Wages Council (NWC) has recommended that a larger swathe of low-wage workers should get higher basic pay increases this year. Those earning a basic salary of up to $1,300 a month should get built-in increments of between $50 and $70. This will cover 24,000 more workers than in 2017, when the NWC recommended that those earning up to $1,200 should get pay hikes of $45 to $60. This recommendation will be a gift to about 150,000 full-time workers who will come under the new basic salary threshold.
Indeed, the council has proposed, for the first time in its annual wage guidelines, that companies which achieved productivity improvements last year should give their low-wage workers a one-off bonus of between $300 and $600. The guidelines are not legally binding but reflect what can be expected reasonably of employers in a tripartite system based on cooperation and non-confrontation among the state, capital and labour.