Just about 2 years ago, NTUC chief Lim Swee Say was drumming up a new term he coined called the “progressive wage”, of which he openly called out to cleaning contractors to pay all their cleaners $1k/mth [Source]. Apparently, nobody including the Government themselves listened to him because the Ministry of Manpower announced in 2013 that the median wage for cleaners was about $800 [Source]. More than a year has gone by, the private sector was still not listening as contractors continue to depress cleaners’ wages. It was very embarrassing for a million dollar Minister and a union chief to be ignored and apparently General Election 2016 inches closer, the PAP realized they could no longer rely on the useless NTUC chief cum Minister without portfolio to raise wages.
So the PAP backtracked on their principle of “progressive wages”, showed NTUC Lim Swee Say the finger and legislated a Minimum Wage. This is evident that the PAP themselves know that the “progressive wage” model is a lie, and tacitly admitting that all their arguments against Minimum Wage were fallacious.
But the biggest backtrack are not PAP’s electoral promises…it is the wages of the cleaners:
A Minimum Wage is a right step in the correct direction but $1k/mth?! That is even lesser than the median wage 14 years ago and we have not touched on inflation yet! The Minimum Wage is a slave wage and it looks more like a carrot for cleaning contractors to hire more foreigners. Coupling a Minimum Wage with a loose immigration policy will only result in more foreigners wanting to come to Singapore to work as cleaners. Singaporean cleaners, especially those sickly and elderly, will still continue to live in extreme poverty from the meager $1k/mth with today’s cost of living.
That brings a stark comparison to SMRT and SBS, where government funding have recently been channeled into the balance sheet of the two companies to make a “living profit”. Interestingly, low income workers do not enjoy similar funding to survive on a “living wage”?
It has been perplexing me for quite some time why would an elected government serve corporate more than the people. Until I enlightened myself and abolished some incorrect presumptions on the nature of the PAP like how incorrupt and democratic socialist they claimed themselves to be. Simply put in, there is a great disconnect between what they say and what they do. This Minimum Wage back peddling is one fine example. What they claim and what they do is one hell of a world apart. The question remains if the majority of Singaporeans will continue to dig their own grave in 2016?