Town council confused about cleaners’ pay?

I refer to the article “Town council chips in to raise wages” (ST, Jul 8).

All cleaners already earn over $1,000?

It states that This arrangement is only for local full-time cleaners earning above $1,000, which is what the town council said its local full-time cleaners are already earning”.

The article then goes on to interview a manager and cleaner of the town council’s current cleaning contractor.

Cleaner interviewed contradicts “over $1,000”?

Cleaner Rosnah Aman, 55, was more forthcoming. The Singaporean, who sweeps a block of HDB flats and an open-air carpark daily, earns a basic pay of $850 a month for working seven hours a day, 51/2 days a week”

This appears to contradict the earlier statement “its local full-time cleaners are already earning (above $1,000)”.

So, how can all the full-time local cleaners be already earning above $1,000, when the cleaner interviewed is only earning $850?

In this connection, does the statement that PAP town councils have managed to raise the pay of its cleaners from $750 to $1,000 on average stll stand? (“Town council cleaners get more pay now”, Straits Times, Feb 21)

Only “over $1,000” cleaners qualify?

As to “This top-up is capped at $40 per worker per month, and it is only for local full-time cleaners earning above $1,000”, does it mean that cleaners like Rosnah Aman may not qualify as she is now only earning less than $1,000?

Why have such a condition if all local cleaners are now already earning over $1,000?

Will cleaning contractor increase pay?

What incentive is there for the cleaning contractor to raise the cleaners’ pay by $100 to $200, to get $20 to $40 from the town council?

Pay directly to cleaners now

Why don’t the town council just give the $20 or $40 immediately now directly to the cleaners instead?

In so doing, every cleaner would benefit now, rather than be dependent on the cleaning contractor in the future.

How much longer do the cleaners have to wait to get a minimum increment of $100 from their cleaning contractor in order to get $20 from the town council?

Presumably, these cleaners didn’t get the National Wages Council’s (NWC) $50 increment recommendation.

Much ado over just $60,500?

After all, the town council’s chairman said that “the move will add less than 0.5 per cent to the town council’s cleaning expenditure”, which is estimated to be only about $60,500.

Finally, since “The town council is prepared to run the scheme for three years, which is the term of its cleaning contract”, what will happen to “cleaners’ pay” after the three years?


Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.