Blogger’s video on low wage worker, sparks off questions


Blogger Kai Ting shared her experience working as a cleaner (Low wage worker).

Source –


What did the labour movement has to say about it?

zainal responded

Zainal Sapari responded


What does Labour MP Zainal Sapari advocate for low wage workers?

Zainal Sapari Labour MP and Assistant Secretary General NTUC - Advocating for Low Wage Workers

Zainal Sapari Labour MP and Assistant Secretary General NTUC – Advocating for Low Wage Workers

 Source –


What is Best-Source’ and ‘Cheap-Source’ that Labour MP Zainal Sapari spoke about?

Cheap Sourcing vs Best Sourcing

With an unhealthy overemphasis on cheapest is the best, the fact remains that workers’ pay in industries such as cleaning and security, is still low. These workers work for outsource service providers or contractors, who bid for tenders where cost plays a big factor in decision-making by the customer. When buyers look for outsourced services, typically they choose the contractor who gives the cheapest quote (cheap-sourcing).

See – NTUC’s Best Sourcing Initiatives

The problem with this is that because cheap-sourcing is so prevalent, contractors have issues raising the wages of their staff, sometimes even reducing the pay (to maintain their business’ bottomline especially after they won the contract based on lowest cost)! With limited revenues due to customers’ preference for cheaper bids, contractors may have problems giving their staff better equipment or sending them for training.

It is not wrong for customers to base their procurement decisions on getting value for money. However before awarding the contract to the lowest-cost bidder (which may not be value for money), it is definitely worthwhile to probe the contractors to find out the terms of employment they offer to workers, the training and the tools they are provided to do their jobs effectively.

Some contractors may not be running their business in a robust and sustainable way, so by exercising duty of care towards these workers, customers can signal to the contractors, and their own staff, the duty of care expected from them. This socially-responsible approach to procurement is known as best sourcing (MOM Best Sourcing) where cost is not the only measure of value. The move towards best sourcing rather than cheap sourcing is a good employment and business practice.

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Coming back to low wage worker

Low-wage workers can also visit NTUC’s U Care Centre for help

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