Updated: 04/26/2014 00:49

Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners refines Progressive Wage Model

Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners refines Progressive Wage Model

The licensing scheme for cleaning companies takes effect in September - but only some 70 out of more than 900 such businesses have applied for it to date. 

National Environment Agency Deputy CEO Khoo Seow Poh gave this update on the sidelines of a media briefing today. 

At the briefing, the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners announced refinements to the progressive wage structure which is mandatory under the licensing scheme. 

With the revisions, a worker whose job scope falls into more than one category, will be deemed to be in the category he spends the most time in. 

And he is to be paid accordingly.

The definitions of cleaning job types have also been revised. 

Two categories of cleaners - those who attend to hospital wards and those who maintain the cleanliness of hospital corridors - have been merged. 

Likewise, multi-skilled cleaners and machine operators will now come under one category. 

The Commissioner of Labour has fully adopted these changes. 

This means cleaning companies seeking licensing will have to submit progressive wage plans for their cleaners in accordance with the latest updates. 

NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari says most service providers welcome efforts to help cleaners earn better wages. 

"Their concern was whether the service buyers are willing to pay the kind of wages that we are recommending. But since it's going to be made mandatory, we are creating a level playing field for service providers and service buyers. There would be greater attraction for the cleaners to get better wages. We do hope that more service providers are aware of the impending changes and the steps they need to do to be prepared." 

A recent survey by Batu, the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees' Union, was also shared at the briefing. 

Some 6,700 cleaners from 32 unionised cleaning companies are already benefiting from the Progressive Wage Model or PWM. 

They account for some 67 per cent of cleaners under Batu. 

President of the Environmental Management Association of Singapore Milton Ng reiterates the need for the PWM. 

"We need to professionalise and protect the workers' rights and sell the service as a professional service, not undercut each other and allow service buyers to take advantage of the situation. With this uplift, it'll help attract better qualified people into the industry. If it's low-wage, not sexy, why would anyone want to join the industry?" 

Some 55,000 cleaners will benefit from the licensing scheme. 

-By Valerie Koh

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