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NEWS UPDATES 23 July 2010

Singapore Workers can expect better pay

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July 21,2010
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Singapore and Chinese companies and industry associations have signed 18 business deals and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in Shanghai, China, on the sidelines of the World Expo.

A strong economic rebound and robust growth of 13 to 15 percent projected for the year for Singapore spell good news for wages.

Labour chief Lim Swee Say said he is optimistic that workers will get better wage increases this year compared to last year.

But he added that companies have to be mindful of the way they share the fruits of labour with their workers.

".....what the tripartite partners are mindful is that as we reward, of course, we'll reward in a fair manner," Mr. Lim told Channel News Asia.

This means rewarding workers based on contribution and performance.

Mr. Lim said that the wage increase should be put into three baskets - a fixed increase, an annual variable and a monthly variable. This is to ensure that companies are always prepared for the next rainy day.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a global conference on service excellence, Mr. Lim also expressed concern that the push for productivity could take a toll on some workers.

Mr. Lim said: "We received feedback through our union leaders that some of the workers are finding this overtime becoming too excessive. When we talk about improving productivity, we're not talking about getting workers to work longer hours, because that is not sustainable.

"So we have to find ways to work smarter, in a more productive manner, so that higher output need not necessarily be done at the expense of the work-life balance."

One company that heeded this call is Japanese food chain Sakae Sushi. It added Vitamin E to its sushi rice for product differentiation.

CEO of Sakae Holdings, Douglas Foo, said: "The adding of Vitamin E does not require additional time, so to speak. And you don't have to stay longer to do that. If you can finish things in a much shorter time, but the output you get is a lot better, I think that's what we're trying to do in the productivity movement."

Mr. Foo also encouraged small and medium enterprises to leverage on innovative breakthroughs to gain a competitive edge.

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