New tripartite body to study how to raise incomes of lower-wage workers

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Singapore — A new workgroup will study how to raise the salaries of workers with lower wages, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Oct 11).
The plan for a tripartite workgroup on lower-wage workers was also mentioned in another Facebook post on the same day by Mr Ng. He said it will let NTUC push for the development of mandatory progressive wage models (PWMs) in more sectors and allow for the study of other approaches towards raising the wages and well-being of lower-income workers.
Mrs Teo, who posted a photo of the three of them at the clubhouse, noted that two years ago, following a similar meeting, plans were put in place that led to the formation of the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers.
She added that, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had recently suggested setting up a workgroup similar to the earlier group but this time for lower-wage workers.
The Manpower Minister wrote that while the tripartite partners (the Government, SNEF and NTUC) have “made much progress” in helping workers, there is more to come.
“Workcare initiatives should become ground-up and pervasive. In sectors where PWM is mandatory, it is important to sustain continued wage growth. We want to expand PWM to cover more workers while protecting their employability. Their families depend on them, and we must not take this concern lightly or treat it academically. This is especially because the availability and nature of work is going through deep change at all levels,” wrote Mrs Teo.
Therefore, in agreement with Mr Heng’s suggestion, Mrs Teo said a tripartite workgroup will be set in motion again, together with key stakeholders to look into “issues holistically” as well as “refresh the consensus on what will work best for our workers and businesses”.
And while the process may take a while, she added that “this is also a good time to ensure our lower-wage workers too can emerge stronger from the crisis brought about by Covid-19”.
But the work has begun, with the heads of SNEF and NUTC agreeing to bring the idea to their teams to “see how best to get this new tripartite workgroup going soon, and shape a national movement to uplift workers who earn less”.
Mrs Teo ended by writing: “We share the conviction that this is important for Singapore.” /TISG
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