Singapore’s newest public transport player London-based Tower Transit put out an unattractive employment package for its bus drivers with a monthly basic wage of S$1,865. After CPF deduction, the take-home pay is only S$1,492, or the bottom 20 percentile according to the government’s household income survey.
Based on a typical 44 work week in Singapore, the drivers will earn about S$8.47/hour. Tower Transit also claimed that their drivers could earn up to S$3,000/mth including GST if they clock in an extra 40 hours of overtime in a month.
Although the wages were negotiated by NTUC’s National Transport Workers’ Union, the remuneration package is demeaning and insulting. Cheap wages have been a chronic problem in Singapore as the government refuses to implement a Minimum Wage. Along with the exorbitant cost of living in Singapore, Singaporeans and PRs avoid low income jobs resulting a manpower crunch. The Singapore government however circumvent the low wage problem by importing an influx of cheap foreign labour, typically from China, to keep wages “competitive”. In 2013, the PAP government announced their 6.9 million population White Paper hoping to import more foreigners to keep wages cheap.