Some 3,000 resident employees in the waste collection and materials recovery sub-sectors will receive better wages, skills and career progression following the implementation of a new Progressive Wage Model (PWM) in the waste management industry.
The Tripartite Cluster for Waste Management (TCWM) released its recommended PWM for the industry at a learning journey on 24 January 2022 at Paya Lebar Quarters (PLQ). The Government accepted the recommendations on the same day.
The waste management PWM will see the introduction of baseline wages for workers from 1 July 2023. The workers will also see wage increments between July 2023 to July 2028.
The PWM baseline wage of waste collection crew will increase by an average compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1 per cent from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2029 ($2,210 to $3,260).
Meanwhile, the baseline wage of a materials sorter will increase by an average CAGR of 8.4 per cent during the same period ($2,110 to $3,160).
The TCWM has also recommended for eligible waste management workers to be paid a mandatory PWM bonus annually starting from January 2024. This will help employers in the waste management industry better attract and retain workers.
The PWM bonus should be no less than a month of the worker’s prevailing monthly salary.
To safeguard the workers’ interests when it comes to overtime pay, the hourly rate of overtime pay will be stipulated in minimum hourly overtime rates.
For example, come 1 July 2023, the minimum hourly overtime rates will range from $16.60 for crew level, up to $21.71 for supervisors.
The PWM also outlines training requirements that the waste management workers need to attain to adequately perform their duties, as well as to prepare them for higher value work that is in line with industry transformation efforts.
The training modules include those that are Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) certified. The modules will correspond with that of the workers’ job roles.
Workers in specific positions will also benefit from clearer career progression pathways laid out in the PWM.
For waste collection, workers will be able to work their way up the career pathway from crew to supervisor. For material sorters, workers will be able to work their way up from sorter to plant supervisor.
Manpower Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad said that the Government is pleased to accept the recommendations of the TCWM. He also hopes that the recommendations will encourage more locals to join the sector.
“This [has been] a good outcome of the negotiations between the unions and the employers, and the Government supports this, seeing how this will benefit many low-income Singaporeans who are facing social inequality.
“But at the same time as well, what we really want to see is the sector transform in a meaningful and sustainable way,” he said.
TCWM Chairman Fahmi Aliman said the cluster has been working hard over the past year to better the wages and career progression of workers in this industry. Mr Fahmi added that the TCWM will press on its efforts to uplift the image of the industry beyond the PWM.
Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) Deputy Honorary Secretary Felix Loh, who co-chairs the TCWM, said the waste management industry is a key segment of the larger Environmental Services ecosystem, and that the PWM will bring about greater opportunities for the workforce in this sector.
Beyond the recommendations, the TCWM noted that a whole of society support is necessary to help uplift workers in the waste management industry.
It hoped that the Government will help provide employers with transitional wage support during the implementation of the PWM.
It also hoped that service providers will support workers’ upgrading and adoption of technology by forming Company Training Committees (CTCs) with NTUC to map out training plans for these workers.
The TCWM stated that workers must also embrace upskilling to improve their own productivity and employability.
The TCWM was formed on 26 January 2021, three months after the TWG-LWW was formed in October 2020.
Progressive wages will cover up to 94 per cent of all full-time lower-wage workers in Singapore by 2023, according to the Government.