The PAP govt extends the Progressive Wage Model to waste management sector, sooner than planned


Some 3,000 waste management workers will earn S$3,260 in 2028, double of what they are earning now.

This is part of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the waste management industry announced on Jan 24, 2022, with tripartite recommendations having been accepted by the PAP government.

Besides renumeration, workers in the waste management industry can also look forward to clear career progression pathways, mandatory Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) training and mandatory annual PWM bonus for eligible workers from Jan 2024.

The monthly baseline wage of an entry-level waste collection crew worker is expected to increase from S$2,210 in 2023 to $3,260 in 2028. This translates to a growth rate of 48 per cent over the six-year period, and ensures our lower-wage workers have meaningful and sustained wage growth.

What is the Progressive Wage Model?

Developed by tripartite committees consisting of unions, employers and the PAP government, the PWM helps to increase wages of workers through upgrading skills and improving productivity.

It covered the cleaning, security, landscaping and lift maintenance industries. In 2021, the PWM covers more than 85,000 workers in these sectors.

Due to widespread cheap sourcing, wages in these sectors had stagnated, which led to high turnover rate and labour shortage.

The PWM not just benefits workers with clear career pathway for their wages to rise plus training and improvements in productivity and standards, it also improves business profits for employers as service buyers enjoy better standards.

Which industry is next?

Lower-wage workers have lower job security and are always the hardest hit during periods of disruption and uncertainty.  Added to this, they typically have less savings to tide over hard times.

The livelihoods of our lower-wage workers remains of utmost importance for the PAP government.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad first announced in Parliament on Mar 3, 2021 that PWM will be expanded to other sectors such as food and retail and implementation will take two to three years.

But because of the urgency to improve and uplift lives, efforts to uplift lower-wage workers were accelerated, as announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech in Aug last year.

PM Lee said then that the PAP government will extend PWM to waste management, retail and food services sectors.

“We will cover more sectors, starting with retail next year, and later food services and waste management. We will also cover specific occupations, across all sectors simultaneously, starting with administrative assistants and drivers. In other words, at some point, sector by sector, horizontal. Slicing vertically, across all sector at once.”

The PAP government will also introduce a Local Qualifying Salary of S$1,400 for local employees, before the company can employ any foreign workers.  The extended Progressive Wages plus the tighter Local Qualifying Salary requirement will cover eight in 10 lower-wage workers.

The nature of jobs will change but not the Party’s DNA

In just six months, the PAP government has extended the PWM to waste management workers, much sooner than planned.

The incontrovertible truth is that our Party will always be a champion for LWWs’ rights : It has been so since our Day 1, and this DNA will never change. 

Our symbiotic relationship with the National Trade Union Congress and our long history of working alongside labour unions and fighting for workers will remain a cornerstone of our Party.

We must, and will, continue to fight for fair and dignified treatment, and to give our workers better jobs, higher salaries and brighter futures.  

Cover photo credit: Zaqy Mohamad Facebook page