Red Dot United (RDU) has joined in the calls for the PAP government to implement a minimum wage. RDU agrees that a universal living wage of $1,300 will provide a basic standard for a life of respect and dignity.
RDU noticed the Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad had provided discrepant statistics on the number of Singaporeans who earn less than S$1,300 monthly after Workfare supplements and CPF (Central Provident Fund) contributions. While Koh Poh Koon said two weeks ago there were “only” about 56,000 Singaporeans earning less than $1,300, Zaqy Mohamad claims this number was about 52,000 instead.
RDU also questioned why Zaqy Mohamad was avoiding a parliamentary question about the number of workers who take home $1,300 or less. He claimed it was “not meaningful or accurate” to focus only take-home salary. RDU wonders if the government is downplaying the number of low-wage workers. The PAP should be transparent with the public.
RDU points out the PAP’s Progressive Wage Model (PWM) is flawed because it only covers three sectors (cleaning, security and landscaping industries) which account for only 15% of low-wage workers. PWM fails to care for low-wage workers in other job sectors.
RDU therefore urges a major change in the wage-setting framework by implementing a minimum wage. RDU cites scientific research that a minimum wage will raise demand and create more jobs, and it also brings productivity growth. A minimum wage will further reduce Singapore’s reliance on foreign labour.
However RDU understands that the pandemic is also a difficult period for many businesses and it may not be the right time to implement a minimum wage immediately. RDU has instead proposed a Wage Credit Scheme-like temporary programme to help SMEs abide to the universal minimum wage scheme.