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GE2015: WP calls for minimum wage starting at S$1,000

[SINGAPORE] The Workers' Party (WP) is proposing a "phased rollout" of a national minimum wage starting at S$1,000 a month - around 80 per cent of the average household expenditure on basic needs here.

This amount will be increased gradually over a period "of a few years" to S$1,250, said WP candidate for East Coast Leon Perera.

Speaking to the media during the party's walkabout at New Upper Changi Road on Thursday morning, Mr Perera, who runs a research and consulting firm, said the phased rollout will allow policymakers to monitor the effect on jobs creation, and ensure that there is no net job destruction as a result of that minimum wage.

"We are confident because the level we are proposing is modest," said Mr Perera, who added that the bulk of people earning between S$1,000 and S$1,250 hold jobs in the "non-tradeable" sector, which "cannot easily" be exported.

The WP called for a national minimum wage when it presented its manifesto for the General Elections last Saturday.

Gerald Giam, who is leading the party's four-man team for East Coast, compared its minimum wage proposal to the current progressive wage model.

The progressive wage model introduces more rigidity than the minimum wage, he said.

"It imposes a lot more burden on the employers to have to not only pay a higher wage, but take them out of their work to go for training and spend these hours. Some of these low-wage work require more on-the-job training than classroom training," said Mr Giam.

In comparison, a minimum wage will give employers more flexibility to decide how to go about improving productivity, he said.

"We believe once employers are pushed to pay a higher wage, they would make choices ... so that productivity matches wage levels," he said.

WP chief Low Thia Khiang and its other candidates for East Coast and Fengshan - Daniel Goh, Mohamed Fairoz Shariff and Dennis Tan - were also present at the walkabout.


Read more about GE2015 here.

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