New wage model means more pay for landscape workers

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Some 3,000 landscape maintenance workers will be able to earn at least $1,300 a month from June 30, up from about $1,100 on average now, with the roll-out of a new wage system in the industry.

These workers can also look forward to skills training and better career progression under the system, which is called the progressive wage model and similar to the one started in 2014 for cleaners.

Under the model, landscaping firms registered with the National Parks’ Board Landscape Company Register have to send at least half of their staff for compulsory training courses by June 30.

By June next year, all the staff in a company must have completed training, or it cannot bid for government landscape service tenders, the National Trades Union Congress said in a statement yesterday.

Nine in 10 of the 270 landscaping firms here are in the register.

The wage model applies to Singaporeans and permanent residents, and will see workers paid according to a tiered scheme. Workers will get a pay rise after they go for training in areas such as improving soil quality or identifying plant growth, and are promoted by their employers.

Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan said employers can adopt a structured and targeted approach to provide more training and raise the skills of their workers, enabling them to operate more complex machinery, and thus raising their productivity.

“All these will result in a raised salary for the workers,” he said yesterday, during a visit to the National University of Singapore.

He said the wage model is part of the nation’s productivity drive, and the Government would give grants to defray costs. Landscaping companies pay $30 to $150 per worker for a three-day training module, after a 90 per cent government subsidy.

Implementing the wage model has helped Swee Bee Contractor to raise the skills of its workers, said its director Ivan Heng.

“This has improved the productivity of our company as the workers are better equipped to handle new technology,” said Mr Heng, who has already sent 27 workers – half of his staff – for the training.

As of January, over 1,300 workers from 151 landscape companies have signed up for the training courses.

The wage model will also be implemented in the security industry, starting in September this year.

chiaytr@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 4, 2016.
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Friday, March 4, 2016 – 11:44
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