SINGAPORE: Cleaners in some sectors can expect to take home a bigger pay packet and enjoy higher starting basic salaries of between S$1,000 and S$1,200, as part of efforts to raise productivity through the Progressive Wage Model (PWM).
The Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) is pushing for the PWM to attract more cleaners to help ease the shortage of workers in the sector.
These changes, TCC said, should apply to local cleaners in three sub—sectors —— office and commercial buildings, food and beverage establishments, and conservancies.
For a start, it wants to help about 10,000 cleaners in these sub—sectors earn a higher entry—level basic wage of between S$1,000 and S$1,200.
There are about 46,000 local cleaners in these three sub—sectors.
They make up more than half of the near 70,000 local and foreign cleaners in the industry here.
Currently, cleaners in these positions earn between S$675 and S$950.
The cluster is also pushing for a ’wage ladder’ —— to give more "wage points" to cleaners who pick up new and better skills, or take on higher responsibilities.
The recommendations are part of the drive for a PWM, where workers gradually earn more through skills upgrading and structured career advancement.
They also aim to help raise productivity through technology and the re—designing of processes.
The TCC, which has representatives from the Ministry of Manpower and National Environment Agency, as well as unions and service providers, considered several factors.
These include what the cleaners’ wages would have been if they had kept pace with productivity growth, the nature and working conditions in various cleaning jobs, as well as inputs from those in the cleaning industry.
Deputy Secretary—General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Heng Chee How described the current situation as unsustainable, noting that the widening income disparity would create social tensions, and has increased the reliance on foreign workers.
NTUC is also working with its Building and Facility Management Services Cluster, which set up the TCC, as well as government agencies on appropriate levers such as accreditation to introduce the PWM for cleaners.
NTUC Building and Facility Management Services Cluster’s Zainal Sapari said: "We are hoping that the government will take the lead. If the cleaners working for the government sector are earning wages according to the progressive wage model, it will have a ripple effect on cleaners working in the private sector.
"I think we will see the cleaning companies having to pay their cleaners working for the private sector higher salaries, otherwise their cleaners might then decide to work for cleaning contracts under the government sector."
Mr Zainal added that he hopes that the recommendations will level the playing field, so that workers’ salaries do not suffer at the expense of winning a contract.
Sectors such as transport, hospitality and healthcare have already taken the cue and put the PWM in place.
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