By SY Lee and Leong Sze Hian
News that make your blood boil!
Reading the news is normally quite funny – but today’s may make your blood boil!
We refer to the article “Progressive wage model plans for aviation industry” (Straits Times, May 8).
Pay from $580 to as much as $1,000?
It states that salaries of 240 airport trolley handlers were already increased from about $580 to as much as $1,000 last August. We seem to be so proud of this achievement of increasing the pay of these workers from $580 to – and I think here’s the catch – “to as much as $1,000″.
So, does it mean that some are still being paid somewhere between $581 to $999? And what about the other 5,760 outsourced contract workers who are not mentioned along with the 240 trolley workers working under airport operator Changi Airport Group? (see here)
Proud of this achievement or SHAME!
The article added that this rise of about 40 per cent of their wages is part of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)’s efforts to improve the pay of low-wage out-sourced contract workers. (Note – 240 workers out of 6000 out-sourced workers.)
We should be ashamed of the fact that after our much touted trade union movement and tripartite’s efforts all these years – our world class award-winning airport was paying such “slave wages” ($580) to as I understand it mostly elderly Singaporeans.
Declining real pay for years?
And if and even when we achieve $1,000 pay for all the airport trolley workers, it may still be in real terms after adjusting for inflation, come to around a 40% decline in pay, compared to about 14 years ago.
It is also said that a progressive wage model will be developed by the end of next year for six types of jobs. The fundamental flaw of the much touted progressive wage model to address the issue of low wages, may be that most of the workers in the job categories, like cleaners and trolley workers may never be able to progress up the career ladder, improve productivity, etc.
So much has been said about improving the wages for the low income workers over the years by the government. But has there been real progress for them or is it all just empty claims and hot air to hide the issues caused by flawed economic and social policies?