The Workers’ Party is pleased to note that the sub-prime crisis affecting Singapore is behind us and the economy appears to be on track to a healthy recovery.
The Workers’ Party is of the view that it is time for employers to reward workers for the sacrifices made during the economic crisis in the past years. The National Wage Council should review the current wage structure and propose an upward wage revision. The reduced employers’ Central Provident Fund contribution rate should also be restored.
It is noted that the Ministry of Manpower statistics show the employment situation has improved and the outlook is promising. However, the widening income disparity and upgrading of lower income workers to improve their skills and wages remain a challenge.
Although the government has pledged to improve the income of workers through a productivity drive and training, the workers must see real improvements in their employment prospects and incomes rather than simply being put on a treadmill of attending course after course.
Creating value-added jobs which will pay workers better is a key outcome of a successful productivity and training effort. In the long term, the only sustainable way to create value-added jobs is not just about enhancing productivity, but that of supporting continuous innovation.
To this end, having innovation and business incubators to house fledgling firms and ply them with ideas and contacts with financiers has proven successful in other countries to grow new companies and create jobs. For instance in the USA, at the University of Texas, the non-profit Austin Technology Incubator’s 20-year record grew more than 150 companies and created thousands of jobs. As Singapore’s economy moves, continuous innovation through new businesses must be supported, and facilitated by the government.
The Workers’ Party also notes that the conscious effort by the government to modify its policy and slow down the inflow of foreign manpower has somewhat eased the anxiety amongst Singaporeans. It has also reduced the tension and resentment on the ground. However overpopulation is still a concern. This is because it causes stress on our infrastructure and social facilities. Furthermore overpopulation also leads to unfair competition for the Singaporean Worker. WP will continue to monitor these issues.
In the midst of a positive outlook and relative optimism, the Workers’ Party salutes the Singaporean Worker who has again braved the economic storm and weathered the dark clouds by responding to the challenges of a rapidly changing world. We should move forward together as a nation towards a brighter tomorrow.
The Workers’ Party wishes all a Happy Labour Day!
Eric Tan Heng Chong
The Workers’ Party