Another video on the Progressive Wage system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmUyzmET3fA
In the last few days, we have seen the idea of “Progressive Wage”. This initiative is the latest by the labour movement to improve the lot of Singapore’s cleaners.
According to Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during the Budget Debate 2012, Singapore cleaners are part of the group of low income Singaporeans who have not seen their salaries go up in the past 5 years.
How will the initiative work?
One way is that the labour movement aims to increase the subsidizing of operating costs to employers. This can in turn raise the company productivity if it purchases more efficient cleaning equipments. The company can then share the productive savings with workers by increasing their pay.
The initiative will first be tested out in the cleaning sector, before moving on to other sectors such as the security, hospitality, and the F&B sectors.
This initiative of Progressive Wage is interesting to me. This is because in recent years, there have been some debates about the feasibility of implementing a Minimum Wage system in Singapore.
They are both points of merits and demerits in the arguments of both the advocates and critics of the Minimum Wage system (the latter group consist of people who argued that the Workfare Income Supplement scheme is better than the Minimum Wage scheme).
I think quite a number of people are split over the issue of “Workfare or Minimum Wage?”.
Recently, MPs such as Inderjit Singh and Irene Ng have called for the implementation of a Sectoral Minimum Wage – setting different levels of minimum wages in different sectors.
I am for more debates and discussions on which are best ways to uplift the wages of low income Singaporeans. As we debate and discuss, we should never close any door so easily.
This goes to say that the government could possibly look at options in improving the Workfare (in terms of its payouts, cash to CPF ratios etc), and even seriously looking at the idea of implementing some sort of a Minimum Wage in the future, if the current initiatives fail.
I believe that no sections or groups of people have a monopoly over any ideas. People should support any ideas that are the best to the people, regardless of who propose it.
And how can people decide which are the best ideas?
I think we should have more debates and discussions over such issues, so that the people can have a better understanding of it.
And with a better understanding of issues, people could well make the best and well informed decisions, and support the policy that best benefit them.