Coronavirus outbreak

National Wages Council convened earlier than usual amid outbreak

The Ministry of Manpower encouraged the public to share their views on what could be included in the annual guidelines developed by the National Wages Council.
The Ministry of Manpower encouraged the public to share their views on what could be included in the annual guidelines developed by the National Wages Council.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The National Wages Council (NWC) was convened yesterday, which is earlier than usual, to discuss wages in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The council, a tripartite body made up of employer, employee and government representatives, usually meets in April and May.

In a statement, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the council was convened earlier this year "given the economic uncertainty arising from the Covid-19 situation".

The NWC meets every year to develop guidelines on wage and employment-related issues.

Last year, it urged employers to offer their staff structured training, as this would encourage productivity growth to support and sustain wage hikes. It also said companies that saw productivity gains should give workers a one-off payment, and urged firms to raise the monthly salaries of low-wage workers by between $50 and $70.

Yesterday, MOM said: "In its deliberations, the NWC will take into account the domestic and global economic situation and outlook, given the Covid-19 situation."

The NWC is chaired by DBS Bank chairman Peter Seah.

It has 21 other members, who include Singapore National Employers Federation president Robert Yap, Singapore Business Federation vice-chairman Gan Seow Kee, National Trades Union Congress president Mary Liew, NTUC assistant secretary-general Desmond Choo, Ministry of Manpower Permanent Secretary Aubeck Kam and Ministry of Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Gabriel Lim.

MOM encouraged the public to share their views on what could be included in the annual guidelines.

This feedback will be considered by the NWC in its deliberations, and can be given through the online form at https://go.gov.sg/nwc-feedback till March 24.

Jean Iau

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2020, with the headline 'National Wages Council convened earlier than usual amid outbreak'. Subscribe