Ministers and Cleaners

Yeah I'm slow but today I learnt that Singapore has implemented its first Minimum Wage policy by mandating cleaning firms to pay their cleaners at least $1,000 a month for their work. The government was quick to announce that this was to be implemented only on targeted industries and not national wide. As we know, the Singapore government used to avoid the idea of Minimum Wage like plague. That meant that we are very inexperienced in handling such a system.

I don't think I will be the first one will point out the fallacies of their new model for the cleaners. In fact, most of them will have already been covered by bloggers making their rounds. I suppose a glaring one which came to my mind immediately was that employers would start increasing workload for their cleaners so that they would take more hours to complete their jobs every day. The workers will be paid $1,000 of course but when they work more hours than before, they get paid less per hour. In fact, that asshole bosscould simply give them the workload of 2 person for their 'pay increment'. Haha. Screw you peasants, says the boss.

So what happens if the government implemented the minimum wage of cleaners to be paid by the HOUR instead? They probably should have and give these bosses a chance to grind their creaky brains. Just yesterday I already read interviews in the Shitty Times about how they warned that their operating cost increased by 30-40% over the last few years because of labour cost and these cost were to be eventually pass on to the consumers. Ha, does that mean the rumors of cleaners earning $600-700 a month in the past were actually truths then? They had denied much of the claims previously but slapped themselves in the face later. So costs will be passed on to us? Sounds like a threat to me. In case you didn't notice, the Shitty Times have been spamming similar reports of the same context but different content to make Singaporeans subconsciously go against the concept of minimum wage without knowing why exactly. SME owners would have been annoyed at how the media portrayed them after trying their best to keep their businesses afloat and minimising their "cost passing" to their consumers to gain a competitive advantage. The government would like us to believe every business operates at a cartel basis like our petrol kiosks. Perhaps the best examples are our transportation companies - suka suka, increase fares, suka suka pass on costs to consumers, no business no problem. Perhaps those cleaning companies that the Shitty Times interviewed were hired by some companies we better not know about, such as those in charge of sweeping your HDB corridors. Suka suka increase price also have business. If these companies were doing business with normal Singaporeans on the streets, they'll be dropped without hesitation with the next option readily available. So you believe the Shitty Times?

Mr Tharman the Shiny added on to the discussion. He was reportedly to have stressed the importance of not having a minimum wage system because it has "crippled countries in Europe and the United States, particularly in worsening employment conditions." He elaborated the justifications to his claims,

"In most European countries, high minimum wages have been accompanied by high unemployment, he noted, with the impact being felt most severely by the least-skilled.
Politicians are keen to take the credit for raising minimum wages, without accepting responsibility when those with low skills and experience are unable to find an employer at the minimum wage. Youth unemployment now exceeds 20 per cent in much of Europe, including its more successful economies.”

I don't like the way the government people use straw man arguments to make their points. It won't be that bad if they don't do it all the time but they do. I could very well say Kangaroos are the reason WA was the hottest place on the planet on 11th January 2014. However ridiculous that sound, the fact that there isn't a large population of Kangaroos anywhere else in the world outside Australia makes that difficult to refute at an instance. So when a politician comes out with a straw man argument that sounds remotely possible, or even correct, with the help of a media constantly drumming the idea into our minds, what would the result be? The population would simply take that as the truth without questioning. Politicians time their claims perfectly well to their advantage. When Australia is doing well, our Ministers would mention nothing of it. The media would be targeting other areas to smear the idea of migrating to Australia [Read: Letter from Shitty Times Journalist]. When Australia goes through an inevitable recession in the future (if not already), you can trust our Ministers to tell Singaporeans that welfarism, minimum wage and work/life balance is the cause of it. Heck, Singaporeans will probably even believe it if the Ministers tell us Australia's economy isn't doing well because there isn't ERP in Perth and brand new cars cost only $20,000. Didn't Singaporeans lap up every word Lee Kuan Yew said when he claimed that Japan's economic downfall was caused by the reluctance to open their floodgates to cheap foreign workers? (to justify why Singapore should)

So why did the government decided to give the cleaning industry preferential treatment by mandating a minimum wage but ignore other industries, such as FnB or construction, where many workers are exploited just like the cleaners? Whatever the reason, the cleaners have now joined the ranks with Ministers of Singapore being the prestigious occupations with minimum wages. 


  1. If I am a towkay in SG

    S$1K per month for cleaners? Must be same hours as before?


    I can hire people at that price: but must wear prescribed uniform and use specific cleaning agents the allowance to buy these is included in the salary.

    Also, weekly spot inspection of work, if find got miss out dirty spots, kena fined which is taken from your current month salary

    Some more as my Ah Gong my grandfather says "goat hair grow from body of the goats themselves" : pass on cost of hiring cleaners to vendors who will pass on to consumers just like GST mah.

    Win -win situation mah. I feel good, politician feel good (don't worry about the cleaners since they are the one who have pay rise leh.... alredi printed in newspaper you know)

    Goddamit! I am really good at this. Don't pray pray with me, OK? Wah lao, I really a bossman I sure collect a lot of karma (if you believe in it)....... bad karma, that is.

  2. "high minimum wages have been accompanied by high unemployment" - lol. He knows nothing about europe.

  3. E.g. Romania has much lower minimum wage than UK but romania unemployment is much higher than UK.

  4. I am glad that the cleaners have benefited from this new changes. It takes time for such an idea to be accepted across the board.

  5. Its the fact that cleaners earn about $700 to $900 if they work OT. I asked the cleaners personally.