It is heartening to read that the Government has accepted the tripartite committee’s proposal to increase the wages of cleaners, with a view to narrowing the income disparity between cleaners and other workers (Cleaners to see their wages increase over 6 years from 2023, June 8).
However, the timeline of the wage increase does not seem to be in sync with the speed with which Covid-19 has exacted a toll on this group of workers.
As we have seen, there has been a huge increase in cleaning demand since the onset of Covid-19, and many workers are deployed in high-risk areas like hospitals and the airport, where they are subject to a much higher risk of infection.
While cleaners are slated to get 3 per cent annual wage increases from last year to next year under previous updates to the Progressive Wage Model, I wonder if the latest updates can be tweaked to bring forward the well-deserved wage adjustment.
Otherwise, it is not obvious how the lives of these lower-wage workers are being uplifted if they have to wait for two years before they can see any significant sign of the fruit of their hard work.
Karen Yip Lai Kham