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Up to 3,000 workers in waste management sector to benefit from new progressive wage model

Up to 3,000 workers in waste management sector to benefit from new progressive wage model

The Manpower Ministry says the progressive wage model for the waste management sector will provide a clear career progression pathway for workers in the sector to earn better wages as they improve their skills and productivity. (Photo: Vanessa Lim)

SINGAPORE: Up to 3,000 local workers in the waste management sector will be covered under a new progressive wage model (PWM), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced on Tuesday (Jan 26). 

This will provide a “clear career progression pathway for workers in the sector to earn better wages as they improve their skills and productivity”. 

The expansion by the tripartite partners, marks the fifth sector where workers will be protected from stagnating wages. 

READ: IN FOCUS: The wage debate – how to lift the salaries of those earning the least? 

Currently, about 80,000 workers in the cleaning, security and landscape sectors are under the PWM, which refers to “wage ladders” designed to raise the salaries of low-wage workers through skills upgrading and improvements to their productivity. 

The PWM was first implemented in the cleaning sector in 2015 and expanded to the security and landscaping sectors in the following year. 

It will take effect in the lifts and escalator maintenance sector in 2022. 

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The move to expand the PWM to the waste management sector is a “first step in the broader effort by the Tripartite Workgroup for Lower-Wage Workers to develop a multi-year roadmap to uplift the employment outcomes and well-being of low-wage workers,” MOM said on Tuesday. 

It was first proposed by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) last year.

To oversee the implementation of the PWM, the tripartite partners have formed a Tripartite Cluster for Waste Management, which will be chaired by Mr Fahmi Aliman, Director of Operations & Mobilisation at NTUC and co-chaired by Mr Felix Loh, Deputy Honorary Secretary at the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF). 

The waste management cluster will comprise representatives from service buyers, service providers, unions, and government agencies, MOM said. 

READ: PAP MPs call for faster roll-out of progressive wage model, higher workfare payouts for essential workers

It will develop the job ladders, training requirements and wage benchmarks of the PWM.

“It will consult multiple stakeholders in the process, to help ensure that the progressive wage model is tailored to the unique conditions of the sector and benefits all stakeholders - workers can upskill and enjoy higher wages, employers can raise the productivity of their operations, and service buyers can benefit from improved services,” MOM said. 

The Tripartite Cluster for Waste Management aims to issue its recommendations in the second half of this year. 

WATCH: Are our essential workers underappreciated?

The PWM was raised in Parliament again in September last year when Senior Minister of State for Health Koh Poh Koon called for it to be expanded at a faster pace and made available across all sectors. 

On Oct 5, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his ministerial statement, promised to expand the PWM to more sectors over time.

Source: CNA/kv(ta)

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