Shock Therapy Is ‘Dangerous!’

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In Taiwan, bus drivers are paid around NT$60,000 (S$2,570) a month – more than twice what some fresh university graduates get.Source: ST

It was announced recently that Singaporean bus drivers will get a 16% pay rise across the board! Starting pay for new bus drivers is now $1,600!

Before the pay rise, new bus drivers used to be paid only $1,200. With $1,100,000,000 ($1.1 billion) of taxpayer money pumped into the two major profit making private bus companies to purchase an additional 800 new buses to cope with the sudden increase of ridership which is partly due to the massive influx of foreigners.

With additional 800 new buses an additional 1,600 new drivers are required to operate them based on two drivers with two shifts per bus.

They may not want to admit it cuz if they admit it’s in line with Professor Lim CY’s “shock therapy”! With self admission, it becomes politically incorrect and they “malu!” Eminent Economics Professor Lim recommends 50% pay rise over three years for low income workers earning less than $2,000 monthly.

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On Labour Day, we have the PM saying Professor Lim’s recommendation is “dangerous” and will lead to disastrous economic consequences. Productivity need to increase first rather than wage increase across the board. Professor Lim thinks otherwise. Increase the pay first to boost productivity. It’s a case of chicken and egg – whichever comes first? – chicken or egg?

From the above, it appears extremely contradictory. Has the productivity of our bus drivers suddenly shot up to warrant such a big pay hike of 16%? If not why then the sudden pay rise for bus drivers? The other workers are not productive. Only bus drivers are productive all of a sudden? Suka suka?

Union Chief instead of endorsing Professor Lim’s recommendation shot him down immediately. Is he representing the workers’ interests or employers’ bottom line? Indeed the ‘Union Chief’ is the only one in the world to act for employers and private enterprises against workers’ interests. This is uniquely Singapore. It only happens here. If it’s in other countries, that Union Chief would be booted out!

Even with the 16% pay hike, our new bus drivers are still paid about $1,000 less than the Taiwanese! Mind you, we are supposed to be the 3rd richest country in the world with first world economy. We are the best in everything except workers’ welfare and wages!

What about other sectors in the transport industry. I understand that new train drivers are paid only $1,200!

Two conclusions can be drawn from the above. The train drivers are not that productive as the bus drivers since there is now a big pay difference of $400!

The train drivers are less skilled, less productive and not so important as the bus drivers as reflected in their big pay differences.

We must remember that a train carries almost 2,000 passengers compared to a bus at only a hundred. Most bus drivers are foreigners compared to train drivers who are mainly locals. They prefer to pay foreigners more than locals?

If you compare our train driver with his counterpart in any other part of the world, he is paid only peanuts. In UK, a train driver only works 35 hrs per week and is paid at least ¬£50,000 a year yet they still go on strike to demand for more pay. Our standard working hours is 44 hours per week. One joker insisted that this is our ‘Swiss standard’ of living. This is the biggest joke.

Our train drivers can’t go on strike here or they will arrested and put behind bars. It’s the kind of third world living conditions and workers’ rights even though we are acknowledged as a first world country.

If the Union Chief does not support better welfare and benefits for the workers, there is actually no recourse at all. The tripartite system rules out any industrial action which is uniquely Singapore. There is no sham in this even it’s a farce.

Just work like slaves we just pray hard to the union gods for whatever crumbs they throw at us macham beggars who ought to be grateful for such pittance! With inflation running at 5.2% and Professor Lim’s assertion that our workers are so much under-paid what productivity are talking about? Is there any productivity when the worker is grossly underpaid?

They just don’t get it or are they in a perpetual state of self-denial which is ‘dangerous’ for all stake holders.

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