Thursday 26 July 2012

NTUC to boost hotel staff wages

3,000 workers stand to benefit from job redesigns, productivity measures
By Janice Heng, The Straits Times, 25 Jul 2012

HOTEL workers are the latest group for whom the labour movement wants to raise wages.

Yesterday, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) unveiled a progressive wage framework that will lift the pay of about 3,000 workers - or one-fifth of the industry's local workforce.

It aims to achieve it by promoting productivity-raising measures and job redesigns.

For instance, the pay benchmark for a housekeeper, who now earns $1,000 a month, is $1,300 for a 'room associate' doing an upgraded version of the job.

Another target is to attract more locals to the industry, especially to higher-end jobs.

The hotel industry has 33,700 workers. But with new hotels opening and 10,400 more hotel rooms expected in the next four years, it may need about 7,000 more workers.

To get more Singaporeans into managerial positions, the NTUC launched its Executive Development Programme yesterday.

Hotels have to raise the pay of trainees to $1,800 to get them on the programme. After they have completed it, they will earn $2,000 or more.

NTUC will subsidise up to 70 per cent of their training allowance, capped at $1,400 a month, for a 12- to 18-month management training course.

Currently, hotels usually require their executives to have experience, but this programme will help them recruit fresh diploma and degree graduates for these positions, said Mr Yeo Guat Kwang.

Mr Yeo heads NTUC's hospitality and consumer business cluster, which looks at improving the lot of workers in the hotel, food and beverage, and retail industries.

The programme is also targeted at mid-career professionals, managers and executives, Mr Yeo added.

Initially, its goal is to train 250 of these professionals, with a cap of five from each hotel.

As for job redesigns, one model NTUC is promoting is Park Hotel Group's Hotel Operations Specialist Team scheme.

It trains staff in three functions: housekeeping, restaurant service and front-desk duties.

Multiple skills mean higher pay for workers like Mr Mohamed Hafiz Talip, 29.

He joined Grand Park Orchard in March with a starting pay of $1,800 a month, up from his previous pay of $1,600 monthly as a waiter elsewhere. 'With more skills, I am also more confident of moving to a higher level,' he said.

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