Now we know why NTUC Secretary General and Minister Lim Swee Say is so set against the idea of a minimum wage - he's afraid of getting it wrong.
Lim claims that a minimum wage is hard to implement effectively and failure to do so will trigger negative effects on workers and bosses alike. Maybe he should swallow his own "training and skills upgrading" mantra and go learn from the 90+ percent of International Labour Organisation (ILO) members who have successfully implemented minimum wage policies without the armageddon of job losses and business failures Lim likes to prophesy about. It's about time he walks his talk and start climbing the "skills ladder" he recommends for the bottom feeders.
ILO said a carefully articulated set of wide ranging policies is needed to secure minimum income for low-wage workers. But while the measures in Singapore reflect an implicit holistic approach to the issue, this does not mean there is no need for a minimum wage because it can help prevent abusive wage practices. Tommy Koh has pointed out that every advanced economy has a minimum wage, including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. SNEF may cite Denmark, Germany and Switzerland as examples with narrow income gaps without minimum wage guidelines, but these countries do not have exploitative wage practices. The average monthly salary of a bus driver in Germany is US$2,156 compared to US$571 in Taiwan (2005 figures, International Average Salary Income Database).
Imagine Goh Keng Swee backing out from his Jurong plans because neosayers were calling it "Goh's folly". Imagine Lim Chong Yah declining the task at the National Wage Council. Now imagine the many Singapore talents who can easily replace this kiasu, kiasi so-called labour union leader.