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The imprisonment of five SMRT busdrivers from the People’s Republic of China resolves none of the ongoing problems workers face in Singapore.$CUT$
As long as the PAP Government continuesto rely on cheap foreign labour to maintain GDP growth, labourrelations and worker discontent will worsen. Not only will workers beexploited, diplomatic relations with countries of the workers willalso be adversely affected.
While the SDP will continue to fightfor Singaporeans’ priority for jobs in this country, foreignworkers must not be exploited and treated inhumanely.
To resolve the current problems, theSDP’s Singaporeans First Policy (SFP) should be implemented. This policywas first proposed in the late 1990s and formally introduced in ourelection campaign in the 2001 general elections. The SFP will requirebusinesses to:
- Demonstrate that the skills theircompanies require are not available among Singaporeans before theyare allowed to hire a foreign worker;
- Retrench non-Singaporeans first andlocals only as a last resort; and
- Adhere to a minimum wage law for allworkers.
The SFP will benefit employers and employees in the followingways:
One, the talent infusion will make our economy genuinely competitive while ensuring that Singaporeans do not compete unfairlywith cheap labour from abroad.
Two, paying minimum wage to locals andforeigners will remove the disincentive of businesses to favourforeign workers over Singaporeans.
Three, adopting anequal-pay-for-equal-work policy will mean that foreign workers whoqualify to work in Singapore will not be discriminated against andexploited. In this manner, industrial and diplomatic harmony will bemaintained.
Four, productivity, which has remainedlargely static for the last quarter century, will be improved.
Five, enhanced labour productivity willraise the quality of life which is currently at unhealthy levelsand ensure greater work-life balance for Singaporeans.
The SDP’s proposals are forward lookingand much needed for Singapore. The details and mechanisms of thepolicy are currently being worked out by the SDP Policy Unit andwill be presented in our population and immigration paper in early2013.