Straits Times Forum
May 31, 2012
I UNDERSTAND that NTUC FairPrice took out advertisements in China to recruit cashiers and retail assistants, offering a monthly pay of $730 plus $200 housing allowance and $50 uniform allowance (‘FairPrice first to increase staff salaries’; last Friday).
Giant Hypermarket has also been advertising for retail staff in China.
Given the situation, the National Wages Council (NWC) recommendations may need to be coordinated with foreign labour policies.
Otherwise, increasing the wages of low-wage Singaporeans by $50, or up to $140 in the case of FairPrice, may lead to an even greater preference by employers for foreign workers, because they will be even cheaper to hire.
The reluctance of some employers to extend the recommended wage increase (‘Bosses okay higher pay but not built-in-raise’; last Friday) should also be seen in this light.
What about part-time workers? Will employers like FairPrice increase their current pay, which I understand is about $5 an hour?
After adjusting for current inflation at 5.4 per cent, and 20 per cent of the employee’s Central Provident Fund contribution, the $50 recommended wage increase may effectively be a negative real take-home pay for some workers.
Leong Sze Hian