SINGAPORE: Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu said the National Environment Agency (NEA) awarded the tender for table—top cleaning services according to best sourcing practices in an open tender.
She said cleaning fees at nine hawker centres managed by NEA were raised following the new contract.
Ms Fu said the government is mindful of the impact of the increase of cleaning charges, and after consultation with the hawker association and affected centres, the increase will be phased in slowly.
It will be increased in two phases over a four—month interval for six of the nine affected centres.
The increases for the three remaining centres were of smaller quantum of less than $200 per month and would be implemented at once.
On how the fees hikes will impact cleaners’ salaries, Ms Fu said she is not able to provide details on the extent to which the increases in fees would benefit the cleaners since it would depend on the operations of each cleaning service provider.
However, the tender stipulated the contract would only be awarded to cleaning companies awarded the Clean Mark Accreditation which requires cleaners to be provided basic statutory benefits stated under the Employment Act including CPF contributions and paid public holidays.
Ms Fu said that even with efforts to improve working conditions and career prospects of the cleaning industry, the longer term solution would be to mitigate manpower shortage with increased productivity as the industry remains unattractive.
"The most sustainable solution to the moderation of cleaning charges for the hawkers is for all of us — the patrons, the stallholders — to help keep our hawker centres clean. It is not possible for us to infinitely increase the numbers of cleaners at our centres to clean up after our mess," she said.
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