The resistance against responsible wages

The article below is sent to us by “Albert Tay, 42” 

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See the guy in the middle? Let us introduce you to who he is:

His name is T. Mogan and is President of the Security Association of Singapore. The SAS is an employer’s association that is generally concerned with affairs of the security business owners.

Now, if you’re in the security industry, you should be more than a little annoyed at what T. Mogan said about your salary a few weeks ago.

When nicely asked by the NTUC to adopt a “Progressive Wage Model“, a pay-model that includes an immediate wage increase (at least $1000) and a progressively wage increase component, he uttered the famous words: “More pay is not a solution”.

You can contextualise it however you wish, but it is hard not to read it as “No, you are not getting more pay“.

Last Saturday, he flipped flopped to the Straits Times. He played the oh-no-of-course-thats-not-what-i-meant card and almost apologetically pleaded that all he wanted for employers was flexibility in wages. Well, I think that is just businessmen’s talk for “let’s keep the status quo and be happy with your $800 salary”.

Now, if this is how employers behave when being sold a simple wage increase. I shudder to think how an entire nation of employers will react to a legislated minimum wage. Regardless, T. Mogan will be disappointed to know that this Progressive Wage Model that he just rejected will be seeing an element of legislation in time to come (i.e. if companies don’t accept it, they won’t get the licence to do their business). He may be able to say no to it today, but he can’t run away from the responsibility of paying decent wages any longer. Unions will find it challenging to educate people like him without coming off as too combative.

I’d like to draw your attention to this picture once again:

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I was told this was not just any old photograph that the Straits Times pulled out from their files. It was a scheduled photo-op.

Speaking with members of the security firms involved (their uniforms are a dead giveaway) I have learnt that the employees did not know they were posing for a photograph that would be used in an article disagreeing to their very own wage increase. I quote my source, “…all the SAS did was tell them the media was coming and that they needed good looking and fit people for a photograph”.

Do you think this is an exploitation of dignity?

Dear readers, I invite you to come to your own conclusions. Granted, it is not cheap to do business in Singapore. But this is not limited only to the security industry. Firms will just have to work harder in thinking how to deliver value and sharpen their skills in doing good business.

Singapore is a small place. We don’t have the land to sustain cheap manpower and cheap rental. It is our karma. And if you are going to be a businessmen, then you have to think hard about how to work around all this.

 

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