Reactions to the National Wages Council guidelines prove Singaporeans are spoilt brats


Here I was on a Friday morning, getting in to work a bit later than usual and turning on my laptop to try and jiak zua (aka eat snake) until the end of the day  (give chance la… weekend mood). So I log into Facebook and scroll my newsfeed but all I see are news articles about the National Wages Council recommendations and Singaporeans being spoil brats about it.

Before I go into detail how many of these Singaporeans reacted are spoilt brats, this is in gist what the whole National Wages Council guidelines are about.

The quick lowdown:

The NWC aka the National Wages Council was formed in 1972 and is a tripartite body comprising of Ministry of Manpower representing the Government, the National Trades Union Congress representing unions and the Singapore National Employers Federation representing employers. The tripartite partners focus on formulating wage guidelines to encourage employers to share productivity gains fairly with employees.

This year, the guidelines were as follows:

  1. employers grant low-wage workers a built-in wage increase in the form of a dollar quantum and a percentage, to give the low-wage workers a higher percentage built-in wage increase;
  2. employers grant a built-in wage increase of $45 to $60 for low-wage workers earning a basic monthly wage of up to $1,200; and
  3. employers grant a reasonable wage increase and/or one-off lump sum based on skills and productivity for low-wage workers earning above $1,200.

But as usual, Singaporean entailment reared its ugly head in many of the reactions.

First up, countless took issue with the dollar amount.

Thankfully, some other netizens had some sense and put them in their place. #burn

Mohsien Hanafi is winning hearts all over the internet… starting with ours.

Guess netizens were so focused on the dollar amount that they don’t understand that an increase in monthly pay goes a long way for low-wage workers and that this is only the beginning. Wage increases have to be sustainable in the long run too. Sure, it’ll be great to get a $200 pay increase but if the company is going to close down next month because manpower costs are too high, you’d be kinda back at square one. #justsyaing  Also, did everyone miss that part about NWC increasing the basic minimum wage limit from $1,100 to $1,200 a month – which means an additional 40,700 workers would qualify. Yup, definitely a case about choosing which parts to pick on and throw their sense of entitlement around.

And yet, there are netizens who also griped about the recommendations being well… recommendations.

Mmmm… yes la. Technically speaking these are guidelines and therefore not “enforceable”. But, it does not mean it will not be enforceable in future.  In addition, although the national adoption rate at 21% could be better, unionised companies actually have a 50% adoption rate of the guidelines. The way I see it, people should be trying to unionise their company rather than being keyboard warriors and backseat drivers.

But of course, no discussion is truly complete without criticising the government… because everything MUST BE PAP’s fault. Wah lao PAP, weather so warm, don’t vote you. PAP, where the hell is my bus?!?!  AHHHHH… cockroach fly in my face… PAP’s fault!

Let’s move forward… together

It’s really tiring to hear incessant complaining from Singaporeans – not because it ruins my TGIF (nah… didn’t ruin it). But because we can do so much more to prove our mettle as Singaporeans who want to play a constructive part in nation building. If there’s any day to save the sense of entitlement and get off your high horse… that day is now.

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.