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SPP Concerned at Rising PMET Layoffs, Costs of Living Outstripping Wage Growth

The Singapore People’s Party has expressed concern that the wages of Singaporean workers are not keeping up with the cost of living in Singapore.

It is also concerned at the high number of PMETs who are being laid off, and wants better government policies put in place to safeguard their interests.

This is SPP chief Chiam See Tong’s May Day message in full:


My fellow Singaporeans,

Labour Day is a celebration of the working classes. We should not only recognize the contributions of workers – pledges must be made to better protect and promote their welfare and rights.

While the Government keeps assuring Singaporean workers that their real median incomes were growing, many workers feel that while price of their daily necessities keeps getting more expensive, their wages are not keeping up. The Hays Asia Salary Guide released in January 2015 indeed confirms that the salary growth in Singapore is failing to keep pace with the tight labour market.

There is a general perception that the NTUC, which is led by a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, is just another arm of the Government. They call this arrangement ‘Tripartism’. But in the face of strong corporate lobbying and Government pressures, the interests of the workers will always remain subservient to these.

Last year Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMET) accounted for 51% of layoffs. A large amount of unemployed and underemployed PMET have to unfairly compete for jobs in industries such as security, hospitality and healthcare sectors. As the Tripartite Alliance on Fair Employment Practices’ (TAFEP) guidelines seem inadequate to better protect our older workers, there is a need to legislate policies to better safeguard the interests of such workers.

Recent initiatives of our Government like SkillsFuture too, though well-intentioned, only gives our workers who tap on them skills and competencies that are needed for the jobs and industries that we have at hand today. Many jobs and industries that were labour-intensive and relevant in the past are no longer here today. What skills and competencies will the jobs of the future require from its workers? As we may have no idea what these may be, it may be better to develop the talents of our workers and have policies to support such talent acquisition.

From sluggish salary growths, to lack of bargaining-power, to insufficient investment in human resources, the challenges of the Singaporean workers are many. This Labour Day, we pledge to stand with the workers of Singapore and be their voice to advocate for better outcomes in these areas.

Happy Labour Day!

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