NGOs to Advocate for Fair Wages and Rightful Employment

MEDIA RELEASE

Singapore, 26 April 2014 – Since 2008, real incomes for the median-income earner in Singapore only grew by 1 per cent annually. However, for the poorest 20% of Singaporeans, real income growth was even much lower – at 0.3 per cent per annum for the past 10 years.

The Singapore government had insisted that any wage increases should follow productivity growth. However, even with the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme, productivity actually faced negative growth last year, which threatens the wage prospects of Singaporeans.

To advocate against the inhumane treatment of workers in Singapore, we are organising an event to advocate for the fair wages and rightful employment of workers in Singapore. Key civil society organisations, Function 8 and Workfair Singapore will participate in the event. AWARE and Mr Tan Kin Lian will also be speaking at the event.

At a time when Singapore is ranked as the most expensive place to live in the world, where Singaporeans yet continue to receive the lowest wages among the high-income countries, Singapore faces a very serious threat to the sustainability of our economic model. The problem is further exacerbated by the largest wage disparity where high-income earners in Singapore also receive the highest remuneration among the high-income countries.

Even as Acting Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong had said that income inequality has stabilised, at an estimated poverty rate of as high as 26%, coupled with the recent strikes and riots that Singapore has faced in recent history, Singapore faces a looming sociopolitical disaster waiting to happen.

1 May is commemorated as the International Labour Day around the world. However, in a situation where the rights of workers in Singapore have been systematically deprived and marginalised, the inability for workers in Singapore to advocate for their rights is even more dire.

Today, Singapore is the only advanced economy without minimum wage or unions with strong bargaining power which are able to advocate for fair wages for workers, so much so that low-income Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among these economies.

It has been estimated that Singaporeans would need to earn at least $1,500 to $2,000 to live decently in Singapore, yet there continues to be nearly 40 per cent of Singaporeans who earn less than $2,000. National University of Singapore economist Tilak Abeysinghe had also calculated that for the bottom 30 per cent of households, they have to spend 105 per cent to 151 per cent of their income last year.

Such an undesirable situation cannot be allowed to continue in Singapore. As such, this event aims to highlight the inadequate measures in place to protect workers in Singapore and to demand for the rights and representation of workers in Singapore to be honoured and respected, especially since on a GDP per capita basis, Singapore has attained First World figures but the treatment of workers here is a stark contrast, and an admonishment of human rights.

Event details:

Date Saturday 3 May 2014
Time 4.00pm – 6.00pm
Venue Hong Lim Park – Speaker’s Corner

 

Programme:

Time Speaker
4.00pm – 4.15pm Ms. Jolene, AWARE
4.15pm – 4.30pm Mr. Leong Sze Hian
4.30pm – 4.45pm Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, Workfair
4.45pm – 5.00pm Mr. Roy Ngerng, The Heart Truths
5.00pm – 5.15pm Mr. Tan Kin Lian
5.15pm – 5.30pm Ms. Han Hui Hui
5.30pm – 6.00pm Questions & Answers

 

To find out more about the forum, you can go to the Facebook event page at:

https://www.facebook.com/events/527069484078804/

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2 comments

  1. SAY NO TO AWARE

    Why is AWARE in the line-up??? AWARE is a hypocrite organisation, with distorted views and promoting bias treatment of men vs women! If they want equality, scrap the women’s charter!

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