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Cleaners to Benefit from Higher Wages and Skills Following PWM Review

The Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners’ latest recommendations include a six-year schedule of wage increases and enhanced training requirements.
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By Ian Tan Hanhonn 07 Jun 2021
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Cleaners will soon have better skills and qualifications, along with better wages.

The Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) released its latest recommendations on 7 June 2021. This included a six-year schedule of wage increases, as well as enhanced training requirements for cleaners.

The increase, which aims to raise the baseline wages set out in the Progressive Wage Model (PWM), will take effect between 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2029.

Base wages of cleaners across all job levels will see a year-on-year increase between for six years, with the wage adjustments made during the first three years largely aimed at narrowing the income disparity between cleaners and other workers.

For instance, the TCC recommends that a general cleaner's salary will increase by $258 from the current $1312. The cleaner's baseline salary will increase by $170 for the other five years.

The baseline wage increase for other cleaning roles are as follows:

NTUC Assistant Director-General Zainal Sapari, who is also the chairman of the TCC, said: “We felt that it is important to provide a clear and transparent six-year schedule of increase as it provides greater certainty to service providers and service buyers to price and award the cleaning contracts that would be fair to all stakeholders, including our cleaners.

“Given the mandated wage increases and enhanced training requirement, I would urge the essential service workers in the cleaning industry to keep an open mind and continue to upskill themselves as the industry adopts more technology and jobs are redesigned.”

In a Facebook post, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng commended the progresses that the Labour Movement has made in the adoption of the PWM and in uplifting the wages of cleaners.

He said: “I am glad that many of us are more aware of the value of work our cleaners do. It is only apt that we recognise their contributions. Pandemic or not, uplifting the lives of our lower wage workers matters to us.

“I thank our tripartite partners for supporting this effort to help our cleaners have better wages, welfare and work prospects. NTUC Singapore will continue to champion for their interests and press on with the implementation of the PWM to uplift more sectors and workers, faster!”

Uplifting Cleaners’ Wages

Labour Member of Parliament Mohd Fahmi Aliman, who is also a member of the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers (TWG-LWW) said: that the recommendations made by the TCC is important as it was the first set of proposals to be released following the formation of the TWG-LWW.

“The recommendations are aligned with the outcomes desired by the TWG-LWW and which reflect our society's strong desire to uplift the wages of our essential service workers. What this means for our cleaners is that they can continue to look forward to higher starting pay and base wage increase every year,” he added.

PWM Training Requirements

The recommendation by the TCC also noted that all cleaning businesses should meet the enhanced PWM training requirements by 31 December 2022.

The PWM training guidelines requires all resident cleaners to attain at least two Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Certificates in Environmental Cleaning Modules or its equivalent.

This will help ensure cleaners’ personal safety when carrying out cleaning tasks, particularly with the increased cleaning demands and standards brought on by COVID-19 pandemic.

Keeping Pace with Industry Transformation

The TCC also recommended that the total number of WSQ training modules that cleaners need to be trained in have to be increased.

This is to ensure that cleaners are well equipped with the necessary skills to meet the greater demand of their jobs.

From 2025, cleaners in lower positions must complete a total of three WSQ training modules, while those in higher job rungs must complete four.