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NTUC 'fully supports' NWC's latest wage guidelines

NTUC says productivity growth and wage increases should go hand-in-hand for a "virtuous cycle" to be sustained. 

SINGAPORE: The National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) "fully supports" the National Wages Council's (NWC) wage guidelines, which were released on Friday (May 30).

In a statement issued on the same day, NTUC said it was "heartened" to see its call to improve skills, productivity, job prospects and wages through the Progressive Wage Model for all workers in all sectors was endorsed in the latest guidelines.

Here's the full statement from NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Cham Hui Fong: 

"The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) fully supports the call by the National Wages Council (NWC) for employers to invest in their workers and embark on productivity-driven growth, as Singapore continues to navigate a tight labour market amid this period of economic restructuring.

At the same time, the Labour Movement is mindful that productivity growth and wage increases should go hand-in-hand, to achieve and sustain a virtuous cycle of higher productivity and gain-sharing, not only in terms of wages but also in skills and jobs.

We strongly support NWC’s recommendations for employers to grant built-in wage increases and reward workers through variable wage components, in accordance with companies’ performance and workers’ contributions.

Focus on Productivity Growth in a Tight Labour Market

NTUC is heartened by NWC’s endorsement of our call to improve skills, productivity, job prospects and wages through the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for all workers in all sectors. Applicable to all workers from low-wage to outsourced workers as well as professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), we firmly believe that PWM will result in a win-win situation for both employer and worker.

With strong employer support, tripartite committees have been formed to advance PWM in sectors such as aerospace and aviation, cleaning, healthcare, landscape, public transport and security. We look forward to the establishment of more tripartite committees or sectoral tripartite workgroups, to develop and implement appropriate PWMs for their sectors. Our unions will continue to engage companies to quicken the implementation of PWM, such that workers can upskill, upgrade and uplift productivity. Businesses will also be able to retain their workforce and remain competitive.

More to be Done for Low-Wage Workers 

We are encouraged by the strong support for last year’s NWC guidelines for workers earning less than S$1,000. Within the unionised sector, we have taken the lead; with adoption rates of 80 per cent in 2012 and 90 per cent in 2013. Correspondingly, we are pleased that there is significant improvement in the adoption rates for this guideline among non-unionised companies.

NTUC, therefore, is pleased with NWC’s recommendation for employers to grant a built-in wage increase of at least S$60 for low-wage workers earning a basic monthly salary of up to S$1,000. We believe that the continued application of these quantitative guidelines, will further contribute to real and sustainable wage growth for this group of workers. 

Further, NTUC fully supports NWC’s recommendations to grant low-wage workers earning above S$1,000 with an equitable and reasonable wage increase and/or one-off lump sum, so as to ensure that they continue to receive higher wage increases. We would also like to encourage employers, service buyers and outsourcing contractors to recognise the service and contributions of other low-wage worker groups, including those employed under outsourced service contracts, and to grant them annual wage increments and bonuses accordingly.

With the introduction of MediShield Life (MSHL) in 2015, we also urge companies to work hand-in-hand with their unions and look into appropriate measures such as the Portable Medical Benefits Scheme (PMBS) or making additional Medisave contributions, to boost employees’ ability to pay for their MSHL premiums.

To ensure efficacy of the wage guidelines, we reiterate the need for employers to apply these inclusive guidelines to all groups of workers, including PMEs and the re-employed. We will continue to press on with our unionised companies, to raise individual worker as well as company productivity, so as to make every worker a better worker and every job a better job.

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