NEA Admits Tray Return Ambassadors Were Hired For Around 2x the Wages of Cleaners

The National Environment Agency has disclosed that it has awarded contracts to companies that remunerate Tray Return Ambassadors with a wage of up to S$2500.

That’s about twice the wages that hawker centre cleaners earn.

The official figures of base salary of a cleaner stand at S$1274, although several cleaners we have spoke to say they take home around just S$800 a month.

NEA was responding to media queries about online job post this year that offered between S$1400 to S$2200 for the position of Tray Return Ambassador.

The government agency said it has called for the job posts to be taken down, saying that it has not awarded any latest contracts and these job posts were done unilaterally by private firms.

However, according to the Straits Times, it acknowledged that “an older listing for a similar role was posted on the same portal by recruitment company People Advantage in June last year, offering a salary of $2,000 to $2,500 monthly. In that case, a contract had already been awarded”.

Public anger has mounted against the NEA for its high-handed approach of forcing customers to be accountable for hawker centre cleanliness.

Customers are forced to clear their trays and cutlery, and remove any food scraps to maintain the cleanliness of the area used.

Meanwhile, hawkers complain of exorbitantly high cleaning fees imposed by customers tasked by the NEA to manage hawker centres.

And to add to their woes, the NEA has allegedly increased rents by up to 40 percent for certain hawker stalls struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This has given rise to resentment from both customers and hawkers, who complain of poorer service service and rising prices.

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