Why do people always compare Singapore with western countries such as Australia or the U.S.?
They seem to like to compare Singapore and other countries about cost of living, standard of living, happiness level, etc.
I recently chanced upon a Facebook post on how the unions in Australia seem to be more effective than that in Singapore.
In it, the writer purports Singapore’s unions to be useless, ineffective, and in his own words “toothless”. His post compared Australia’s Labour Laws with Singapore’s.
Is Singapore really that bad?
I guess when you really ask your counterparts living in some of the western countries that Singapore is often compared to, they wouldn’t want to be compared with Singapore. Because they know that on many levels, Singapore would be better, in terms of education, accessibility, cleanliness etc.
In short, this means that not everything in countries such as the U.S., Australia and the UK are as rosy as it seems. Every country has its own fair share of problems.
Take the U.S. for example. The superpower nation often sees strikes and protests held on the streets which bring about a lot of inconvenience to workers and road-users.
Recently, fast-food workers in New York rallied together to demand for higher pay. They claimed that they cannot survive on the hourly wages paid by many U.S. corporations.
It seems that the U.S. federal minimum wage of US$7.25 is not enough to lift workers from poverty. Protestors are hence demanding for pay increases to US$15.
McDonald’s has said it would raise hourly pay at company-owned stores to US$9 but this would not necessarily apply to more than 90% of its 14,000 U.S. locations which are operated by franchisees.
It seems that a union in the U.S. is backing the move.
Then again, according to news reports, the movement has so far largely not fazed McDonald’s and other large fast-food operators because it is franchise owners who set wages for their employees.
Question: Is such a movement/protest/strike necessary? What good would it bring to employees, customers and the company?
In Singapore we see unions subscribing to tripartism, which has worked successfully since the days of our founding fathers, one which sees employers, unions and the government collaborating to benefit workers and companies.
Also, the union movement tin Singapore advocates Progressive Wage, in which wages are tied to skills and productivity.
That way, companies are made to upskill their workers to get better productivity, which in turn leads to better pay for workers.
And statistics has shown that the pay of low-wage workers have significantly raised the wages of low-wage workers.
So if anyone wants to compare the state of unions in Singapore against that of other countries? Shouldn’t it be compared with what unions in Singapore have achieved rather than how violent and aggressive it is?
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