​Government committed to tripartism and helping low-wage workers
PUBLISHED ON 01 Jun 2018
With the global working environment faces challenges and disruptions, the Government is committed to tripartism and will continue to work with unions and employers to address and protect the concerns of workers.

As part of the initiatives to strengthen tripartism, Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo announced at her ministry’s workplan seminar that there will be a tripartite workgroup that will study the concerns of older workers.

The work group will look into four areas, ensuring and inclusive and progressive workforce that values older workers; reviewing the long-term relevance of retirement and re-employment age; considering Singapore’s next moves on retirement and re-employment age; and examining the CPF contribution rates for older workers and their impact on retirement adequacy.

The second initiative is focussed on lower-wage workers. Mrs Teo said that the Ministry will work together with the NTUC to enhance the Inclusive Growth Programme, to incentivise businesses to share productivity gains with lower wage workers.

Moving forward together

“We believe that it goes beyond wage improvements as it also concerns the skills development and career progression of lower wage workers,” said Mrs Teo.

The third initiative helps businesses stay agile by developing their human capital. “MOM and Workforce SG (WSG) recently announced the SkillsFuture for Enterprises (SFE) initiative to help such employers build Human Capital development capabilities as a key part of their corporate capabilities,” she added.

Reiterating that although tripartism is in order, it does not mean it can be taken for granted or that it cannot be strengthened further. Mrs Teo emphasised, “Our way forward is an age of disruption must be tackle the challenges squarely, recognising that Singapore is not along in having to deal with them.”

“The tripartite partners must always stand in solidarity with one another, and with fellow Singaporeans we must join hands and move forward together… We can overcome the challenges of disruption to create a better future together,” she added.

One-of payment for low wage workers

Separately, the National Wages Council on 31 May 2018 recommended that low-wage workers receive a one-off payment of $300 to $600 from companies that have enjoyed productivity gains. Mr Melvin Yong, Assistant Secretary-General of the NTUC, said that the message they wanted to send was there are productivity gains, and these gains are shared with workers.

NWC also recommended that these low-wage workers who earn up to $1,300 receive a pay increase of $50 to $70. With the increase in the wage threshold in 2017, more low-wage workers had improvements in their wage outcomes and the proportion of resident employees who earn less than $1,200 has fallen, from 8.1 per cent in 2016 to 7.7 per cent in 2017.