Raising Real Incomes A Key Challenge For Singapore Government

07 Dec 2011


Immigration News

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said increasing real incomes to improve the lives of Singaporeans is a key challenge for the government.

Speaking at the labour movement's National Delegates Conference on Tuesday, Mr. Lee said the real median incomes of Singaporeans grew by three per cent between June 2010 and June 2011, after adjusting for inflation.

He said Singapore has done well this year due to the strong growth of 2010. He urged Singaporeans to do their best to keep this up.

Mr. Lee said the only way to sustain real wage increases is to keep improving productivity, especially through upgrading the quality of workers and jobs.

He noted that in the 10 years to 2009, productivity grew by one to two per cent per annum.
He is confident that Singapore can meet its target of two to three per cent productivity growth per year for the next 10 years.

He said this can be done with the full support of the tripartite partners and can be translated into better wages for workers.

Mr. Lee urged the tripartite partners to continue to pay attention to the lower-income and less-skilled workers.

He stressed that it cannot be assumed that if wages rise in general, the income of this group will automatically go up.

He added that it is a tripartite responsibility to ensure that this group of workers will also benefit from the country's progress.

The Prime Minister said the labour movement must help lower-income workers get a fair deal, in terms of working conditions, skills training and a decent salary.

On their part, employers should go for best sourcing, instead of cheap sourcing.

Mr. Lee said the government is doing its part and will take the lead in best sourcing.

It is also building on Workfare to supplement wages and ensure that the lower-income workers and their families enjoy access to education, housing, healthcare and transport.

This would mean more social spending to enable the less fortunate help themselves.

Mr. Lee said the government will do this in a way that will not undermine self-reliance and the incentive to perform.

Concluding, Mr. Lee noted that Singapore can see the challenges ahead but fortunately, the country has much strength too.

These include the best workforce in the world, a high international reputation, especially after the last financial crisis and a healthy and functioning model of tripartism.

He said Singaporeans must work together to build a better labour movement, a stronger tripartism and a brighter future for Singapore.


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