According to the Straits Times news report “Singapore not where it wants to be yet for service culture: PM Lee” (May 18) – “He also delivered a reality check: When it comes to service, Singapore is still not quite where it wants to be yet.

At my ND Rally ten years ago, I talked about building a strong service culture. Since then we have made progress, despite bad incidents from time to time (e.g. in Sim Lim Square).”


Low pay of Service & Sales Workers

As to “Customer satisfaction levels slipped in retail, food and beverage (F&B) and tourism.

A big part of the problem stems from Singapore’s tight labour market and reliance on foreign front-line staff.

“The turnover is quite high, even for foreigners. This affects the service continuity,”" (“Service levels here still not up to scratch: Experts“, Straits Times, May 20) – after more than a decade of emphasis on “service” – the primary reason why “service” is so poor in Singapore may be the low pay of Service and Sales Workers.

In 1999, the median monthly basic pay of Service and Sales Workers was $1,175.

According to the MOM wages benchmarking tool – in 2013, it was $1,550. This is an increase of about 32 per cent in the last 14 years.


Negative real pay increase last 14 years?

Since inflation was about 34 per cent from 1999 to 2013 – does it mean that the real increase in pay was about a negative – 2 per cent after 14 years, or a negative annualised increase of about – 0.1 per cent?

As the 25th percentile pay in 2013 was $1,163 – it means that a quarter of Service and Sales Workers’ pay was less than $1,163.


Low pay = low service

As to “About 11,000 establishments have undertaken service excellence improvement projects with the National Trades Union Congress and Spring Singapore, while the Singapore Workforce Development Agency has trained more than 200,000 workers in service excellence” – as long as the pay is so low – “service” may continue to be “still not quite where it wants to be yet”!


Win battles lose war

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