Time for employers to pay fairly

Enough is enough. Companies who outsource their cleaning, landscaping and security services, need to take it back and hire directly. And guess who needs to lead the way, the public sector. Schools for example, outsource all their cleaning, landscaping and security services to service providers. Unfortunately some of the schools who are service buyers practice cheap sourcing which suppresses the wages of the workers.


Even with NWC (National Wage Council) recommendations which call on employers to give a built-in wage increase, the wages of the cleaners, security officers and landscape technicians remain low.

What really needs to be done, is for employers to do more for these low-income workers. And by employers, I mean service providers and service buyers. Both need to go beyond what is done currently to increase wage levels.

The NWC recommendations is good, but like all recommendations and guidelines, it is really the bare minimum. Additionally, in order for income and wages to be increased sustainably, skills and productivity of the workers need to be increased.


If companies or organisations cannot hire these groups of workers directly, then they should still follow the recommendations or even go beyond it to pay the low-income workers fairly.

A wage system recommended by the NTUC called the Progressive Wage Model has the components which can make sure that wages are increased sustainably. It has both a productivity and skills component that increases together with the career and wage component. Should a worker lose his or her job, then the same skills can be transferable to the next company within the same industry, thereby helping the worker to start at the same level and assuring his or her employability.


Much has been done by the trade unions and the government in helping workers to upgrade skills and earn more. Numerous training funds and productivity incentives have been put in place for workers to improve their lives. The onus is now on employers to hire and pay their workers fairly.





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