Helping low-wage workers climb wage ladder

To raise the salaries of cleaners, the Government has accepted a proposal to progressively raise the basic monthly pay of Singaporeans and permanent residents working in outsourced cleaning jobs from $1,236 currently to $2,420 in July 2028. Insight examines the bold move.

LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE Mr Lim Goh Heng, 72, at work at The Orchard Residences on May 19. He now earns just over $2,000 a month - an increase which he attributes to the Progressive Wage Model. SECURITY INDUSTRY Competition is stiff in this sector. In s
LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE: Mr Lim Goh Heng, 72, at work at The Orchard Residences on May 19. He now earns just over $2,000 a month – an increase which he attributes to the Progressive Wage Model. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN
LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE Mr Lim Goh Heng, 72, at work at The Orchard Residences on May 19. He now earns just over $2,000 a month - an increase which he attributes to the Progressive Wage Model. SECURITY INDUSTRY Competition is stiff in this sector. In s
SECURITY INDUSTRY: Competition is stiff in this sector. In some cases, service buyers engage in a “wage reset” when they sign a new contract with a service provider, said Security Association Singapore president Raj Joshua Thomas. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE Mr Lim Goh Heng, 72, at work at The Orchard Residences on May 19. He now earns just over $2,000 a month - an increase which he attributes to the Progressive Wage Model. SECURITY INDUSTRY Competition is stiff in this sector. In s
CLEANING SECTOR: Cleaners at work outside ArtScience Museum on June 2. The Progressive Wage Model was mooted in 2012 and took effect for cleaners in 2014. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

It was slim pickings for gardener Lim Goh Heng when he joined the landscape maintenance sector in 2010 but his prospects have blossomed somewhat, thanks to a trade union initiative that is changing workers' lives across the island.

There is no doubt Mr Lim and others like him needed a helping hand. His pay in 2010 was $700 a month, putting him among the bottom 20 per cent of Singaporean earners.

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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 'Helping low-wage workers climb wage ladder'. Subscribe