How PAP’s pro foreign worker policy has screwed Singaporeans

PAP needs to have a pro foreign worker policy because government-linked companies are the biggest employer of foreign workers.

Foreigners should be employed only after market forces have been allowed to determine fair wages. But under the PAP, it has already decided that wages must be kept low in order for GLCs to be profitable. It then introduced legislations to depress wages through the employment of foreigners and subsequently claimed that Singaporeans are choosy.

If market forces determine that wages of security personnel should be $4000, will Singaporeans be choosy? Will Singaporeans not want to be bus drivers if the starting salary is $3000? PAP is clearly talking cock but is able to do so because the duopolies of SMRT/SBS Transit and Certis Cisco/Aetos are controlled by Temasek.

Since the PAP government controls both demand and supply of labour, it therefore determines how low Singaporean drivers/security personnel/cleaners, etc should be paid.

Every PAP ‘solution’ only generates revenue for the government (levy collection) and GLCs and discriminates against citizens. An example is the manpower shortage in the security industry, eg Cisco Certis, which was highlighted in a previous post.

Another perfect example of discrimination against Singaporean SMRT bus drivers was highlighted by Ng E-jay in this post 4 years ago.

On the surface, it appears Singaporean drivers earned higher wages but the reality was SMRT had been shortchanging them for years.

Although PRC drivers were getting $1000, SMRT had to pay Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) of about $400* and subsidised at least $220 for their accommodation and utilities. PRC drivers were getting benefits amounting to at least $420 more than Singaporeans per month. (see table below)

In the case of a Malaysian driver, monthly wages were similar but SMRT had to contribute about $400 in FWL. Why was SMRT willing to fork out a total of $1600 to hire a Malaysian driver but only $1200 for a Singaporean?

Why was government-linked SMRT willing to pay foreigners more than locals?

Even after taking into account employer CPF amounting to about $200, Singaporean drivers were still earning less than foreigners. Not forgetting CPF is in fact a tax which reduces disposable income by 20%.

The table below confirms how SMRT had been screwing Singaporean drivers (wages in July 2012 before increment).

*FWL was between $340 to $500 in 2012 MOM

But the game was up for SMRT in 2012 and wages were suddenly increased by $75, $200 and $575 for PRC, Malaysian and Singaporean drivers respectively. Corresponding improvements in productivity? None!

The sole reason for the relatively huge increment for Singaporean drivers – they had been shortchanged for years!

The situation in October after the July increment – SMRT was still willing to pay more for Malaysian drivers (table below).

PAP claims it is trying to reduce costs for citizens but there’s no other way except by increasing productivity growth. Instead, PAP has taken the easy way out by depressing Singaporeans’ wages.

Singaporeans should not benefit from fellow citizens’ misery.

PAP does not believe that every Singaporean should earn decent wages; be they cleaners, security personnel or drivers. Through flawed legislations, PAP has not only discriminated against Singaporeans but forced hundreds of thousands to compete for third world wages.

Singaporeans should not hope for any meaningful change in labour laws because, without PAP’s assistance, GLCs are not able to mitigate high rental cost/increase productivity and will go ‘pock kai’ in no time.

The best shortcut is, of course, to hire an increasing number of foreigners. This kills 2 birds with one stone: generate revenue for government and GLCs but at a huge expense of Singaporeans.

This is how Singaporeans have been, and will continue to be, screwed by our pro foreign worker policy.

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9 Responses to How PAP’s pro foreign worker policy has screwed Singaporeans

  1. lil says:

    agreed! the unholy Trinity of tripodite

  2. Tan hwa says:

    Just look at the sudden increase when Tower transit came into picture.

  3. Phillip Ang says:

    Scholars belong in the classroom. They are surviving by squeezing citizens.

  4. Phillip Ang says:

    Please help to share. This blog is dedicated to Singaporeans with zero personal gains.

  5. Beet says:

    The Security industries is screwed up at the moment.Security Officers SO are expected to work for Basic pay of $1100pm and long hours 6 x 12 hrs week to survive…
    How to expect SO to perform well under this conditions in time of Security Crisis ?
    If Government consider National Security of its citizens is important,it should increase significantly SO pays with mandatory trainings in key skills to deal with Security Crisis and revert back to 8hrs shift days for effective performance…
    If still insists on 12 hrs shift work days it should not allowed SO to work more than 4 days per week.The only reason why SOs are working so much overtime is the crazy low basic pay…

    • Phillip Ang says:

      Temasek’s interest is at stake because it owns the 2 biggest companies providing security services. PAP government won’t do anything which will impact Temasek’s bottom line.
      Since when was PAP bothered about employees’ well being? 😦
      If it was bothered about national security, there wouldn’t be so many foreign workers and no Little India riot.
      PAP has always taken shortcuts to ensure profitability of GLCs.
      The only way for GLCs to support their top heavy management is by exploiting rank and file workers.
      With so many foreigners, it’s only a matter of time before the next crisis hits. Nobody had expected Chinese SMRT drivers to strike.

  6. sgplblog says:

    This argument makes little sense If SMRT was discriminating against Singaporeans by offering them lower-wage, then why hire any Chinese workers at all ? just hire lower cost Singaporean workers?. This also ignores the various benefits that Singaporean workers receive that Chinese and other workers don’t

    • Phillip Ang says:

      Sorry. I think you should re-read the article to come to a better understanding. Can you list the various benefits that Singaporean workers receive that foreign workers are not entitled to? How much do the net benefits amount to?

      • sgplblog says:

        From my understanding, you are claiming that SMC and GLC’s such as SMRT are willing to pay more for foreign workers than local workers as shown by your data table, you furthermore claim that this is part of some pap-policy to depress the wages of low-income workers to reduce cost of living.

        I’m expressing doubt at your claim that SMRT pay’s less for Singapore than foreign workers because if that’s the case, What’s the point hiring foreign workers if they cost more to employ than Singapore workers?

        If you’re saying that the Singaporean government is wage-fixing the salaries to keep them low, then I’m a bit suspicious given the difficulty most business face hiring workers these days. Like, take restaurants as a case-study, following the 2011 general election the government clamped down on most non-pr or sc hiring for restaurants. Did this cause wages for restaurants to rise to the point vacancies were filled by Singapore being paid decent wages?
        no, While wages increased people didn’t enter the industry and hundreds of restaurants either had to close or are under extreme pressure due to the labour shortage.

        Singaporean workers receive benefits such as subsidised HDB rentals, CPF top-ups, Skill-future credit and workfare. These have to be taken into account and compared to the subsidies received by foreign workers to discover the true cost of employing them.

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