Tuesday, 5 November 2013

PAP town council cleaners to get pay rise

2,500 workers will get $200 boost under progressive wage model
By Lee Jian Xuan, The Straits Times, 4 Nov 2013

CLEANERS at all 15 People's Action Party-run town councils are getting a $200 pay rise from this month, as part of continuing efforts to boost the salaries of Singapore's low-wage workers.

The 2,500 cleaners, all of whom are Singaporean or permanent residents and working for contractors engaged by the town councils, will also get skills training.

Starting pay for full-time cleaners will now be $1,200, up from $1,000. The median monthly gross pay of cleaners here is $1,020, according to latest available wage data.

But they are not the only ones to get a boost.

Machine operators and supervisors will get the same increment, bringing their starting wages to $1,400 and $1,600 respectively.

Part-timers also get a pay hike, but this will be adjusted according to how long they work in a day.

"We would like to increase workers' productivity and improve their skills and salaries, so as to provide better services for our residents," said Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman for PAP's town councils and Mayor of North West District.

Better employment terms might also attract more locals to the job, added the MP for Bukit Panjang.

Dr Teo was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding yesterday between the town councils and their contractors to adopt the revised wage model.

But he also acknowledged that service and conservancy (S&C) charges for residents are likely to rise as well. "At some point in time, we will need to revise S&C charges. Quality comes with a price, but this is to better serve residents and enhance conservancy standards," he explained.

The pay of these cleaners was first increased to $1,000 last year, from about $750 in 2008.

This latest raise comes after the cleaners were brought under the progressive wage model introduced by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) last June.

They will be trained in cleaning areas such as lift landings and corridors. They will also learn how to handle chemicals and operate machinery.

In the next three years, NTUC aims to help 100,000 low-wage workers in various industries.

Some cleaning companies, such as Ban Chuan Trading and Engineering, have already put in the new wage model with the $200 pay rise.

"Our operation costs will definitely increase, but we want to attract more Singaporeans," said Mr Johnny Lim, the director of the company, which employs more than 300 cleaners.

Cleaner Chan Yew Ghee, 52, who has been with Ban Chuan Trading for two years, said the extra money, which he had been receiving since August, has allowed him to save more every month.

"My wife and I had to be very careful with our expenses, so this helps to ease our burden," he said.

Town councils' wage rise 'sends right signal on pay'
By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 5 Nov 2013

WHILE town council cleaners will be getting a pay hike this month, cleaning companies do not expect it to have a big knock-on effect on raising standards of paying cleaners across the industry.

This is because the move benefits only a small fraction of local cleaners, they say, and some are already paid more than the $1,200 per month that town council cleaners will be getting.

Still, the move will have a "signalling effect on what the minimum pay of cleaners should be", said Mr Woon Chiap Chan, the country managing director of ISS Facility Services, one of Singapore's largest cleaning firms with over 6,000 cleaners.

"Like government agencies, town councils have to set the right example and not give the impression that it is a cheap buyer of cleaning services," he said.

On Sunday, the 15 People's Action Party-run town councils announced that their 2,500 local cleaners are getting a $200 pay rise, as part of efforts to boost salaries of low-wage workers here.

But cleaning companies say that clearing rubbish and sweeping Housing Board flats and carparks are not cleaning jobs that are sought after in the first place. There are some 46,000 Singaporeans working as cleaners, and only 2,500 of them clean HDB estates.

"It is not a big sector," said Mr Milton Ng, president of the Environmental Management Association of Singapore that represents cleaning companies.

Cleaning firms point to various reasons why Singaporeans shun town council cleaning jobs.

"They work outdoors and sometimes under the rain and sun, picking up litter and they face the public," said Mr Lim Chin Boon, managing director of Clean Solutions. The company has cleaning contracts with East Coast and Tanjong Pagar town councils.

Other cleaning firms said the labour crunch has already pushed up cleaners' pay. The latest move is merely catching up to what contractors have to pay to hire locals.

"Monthly pay of $1,200, $1,300 for cleaners, it is quite normal now. Hotel cleaners are already paid that," said Madam Teresa Kow, director of cleaning company Allied System Services.

The latest Manpower Ministry data showed that the median gross monthly pay of office cleaners last year was $850, up from $815 in 2011. The ministry does not release separate data for town council cleaners.

WP: Cleaners may get pay hike
By Toh Yong Chuan and Andrea Ong, The Straits Times, 5 Nov 2013

THOSE who clean the constituencies of the Workers' Party may also get a pay rise.

The Aljunied-Hougang- Punggol East Town Council told The Straits Times yesterday that it adopted the progressive wage model when it awarded a cleaning contract recently.

"We will monitor how this model impacts the overall productivity and cost structure before deciding whether this or other measures are more appropriate and sustainable (in raising cleaners' pay)," it said.

It did not give more details of the contract.

Under the model, a minimum wage is set and workers are assured of higher pay when they upgrade skills.

The town council's spokesman also said that pay hikes for existing cleaners may take the form of "incentive payments" for the good performers.

"We are consulting our contractors on how to roll out incentive payments over time to workers in all divisions, in an equitable manner," the spokesman added.

The town council did not say how many cleaners are hired by its cleaning contractors.

No comments:

Post a Comment