Oral Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower & Senior Minister of State, National Development, to Parliamentary Question on International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 94
Notice Paper No. 378 Of 2012 for the sitting on 15 Nov 2012 Question No. 784 For Oral Answer
MP: Mr Alex Yam
To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower (a) whether labour clauses applicable under International Labour Organisation Convention No 94 have been included in public sector contracts for services during the pre-tender process; (b) if so, how have such clauses been enforced; and (c) if the clauses have not been included, why have public sector contracts not conformed to ILO Convention No 94.
- International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 94, otherwise known as the Labour Clauses (Public Contracts) Convention, stipulates that labour clauses should be included in all government procurement contracts that involve the expenditure of public funds and employment of workers. These labour clauses should require contractors to provide wages and other employment conditions that are not less favourable than those established by law or collective bargaining, for similar work.
- Singapore upholds the principle of ILO Convention No. 94. In the absence of industry-level collective agreements in our national context, this requires that contractors and vendors of the Government should not provide their workers with poorer standards relative to our laws. This extends to all companies in Singapore, and includes compliance with the basic standards in labour laws such as the Employment Act and Central Provident Fund Act. The Government enforces compliance by conducting regular random audits on companies.
- The Government further affirms its commitment to the principle of the Convention through our best sourcing initiative, which encourages service buyers in all sectors (not just for public contracts) to outsource responsibly and adopt best practices. Good practices include having service buyers incorporate in their contracts a requirement for providers to comply with employment laws, and provide written employment contracts and training for their workers. This helps to raise the productivity and professionalism of workers, translating to higher wages and better employment terms.
- The Government will continue to take the lead to shape responsible buyer behaviour. From 1 April 2013, it will be mandatory for all Government agencies to award new public contracts for cleaning and security services only to cleaning companies accredited under the NEA’s Enhanced Clean Mark Accreditation Scheme and security companies with an "A" or "B" grade by the Police Licensing & Regulatory Department. Such companies are expected to be able to deliver higher service standards, and have better trained workers who can progressively earn higher wages. Accredited cleaning companies, in particular, will also have to show that they have in place a progressive wage structure for its cleaners such that they receive appropriate wages commensurate with the higher training standards and productivity required. In addition, to ensure better employment standards, accredited cleaning companies must not default on any Labour Court Orders1 in the preceding 12 months. These requirements for public sector contracts ensure contractors are subjected to strict standards and accord better employment conditions to their workers.
1 Labour Court Orders are issued after the Commissioner for Labour hears the salary claims lodged by the claimant and makes a decision on whether the claim is valid.