The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in its May Day Rally message emphasized that as the cost of living increases, it is imperative to speed up real wage increase and slow down the widening of income gap in Singapore.
This comes on the back of a three-year wage restructuring proposal put forward by Lim Chong Yah, former Chief of the National Wages Council. Aimed at tackling income inequality and working towards higher productivity in Singapore, Lim had proposed a 50% pay hike over three years for those earning less than S$1,500 month while those drawing S$15,000 or more would see their wages frozen for three years.
Meanwhile, Lim Swee Say, Secretary General of NTUC, added,” As we slow down the increase of global manpower in our workforce, we must make better use of every worker at all levels, including our lower wage workers. Our workplace must be more age-friendly for mature workers to continue working in a fair and meaningful way; and more family-friendly for women and working parents to strike a better work-life balance.”
Lim Swee Say acknowledged that even though May Day is a day of celebration in Singapore, there is still some room for improvement. “Our employment rates across all ages are going up while the unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the world. Our new challenge is to reduce the social downside as we pursue the upside of economic growth. We want to generate a virtuous cycle of economic gain and social gain.”
The Labour Movement’s 2015 vision includes better jobs for all by representing the changing workforce profile in Singapore when it comes to national policy making.
Singapore work visa specialist Rikvin opines that discussions surrounding wage increment are sensitive and should be approached carefully. “While the government is trying very hard to reduce imported inflation by increasing the value of the Singapore dollar, there is a growing demand for higher wages to meet rising costs of living. There will certainly be a pressure on the prices of essential items such as food, transportation and housing. This could further squeeze the middle-income group,” commented Satish Bakhda, Rikvin’s Head of Operations.