As one of Singapore’s largest employers, NTUC social enterprise supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice announced today that with effect from 1 July 2012, eligible non-executive staff will get up to 15.8 percent in wage increment and adjustment. Staff whose basic monthly pay are below $1000 will see the biggest built-in wage jump of about $140, which is almost three times NWC’s recommendation.
With this wage increment and adjustment, the monthly gross wage (including allowances and bonuses, excluding overtime pay) of a full time non-executive staff at FairPrice, such as Retail Assistants and Cashiers, will move up from a range of $1,080 to $2,095, to a range of $1,200 to $2,200. The wage of a staff depends on many factors such as work experience, years of service, scope of work and type of allowances given. The allowances could include shift allowance, cashiering allowance, attendance allowance, and customer service allowance depending on scope of work.
“Our people are our most important asset and it is our priority to ensure that their salaries are competitive and in tandem with economic and market conditions. We have invested in upgrading our service quality and enhancing our productivity through new technologies. As a result, we have been able to maintain our market leadership position. In line with our commitment to share our gains with our staff, we are giving higher wage increment and adjustments for our non-executive staff this year, as part of our annual wage review. This is also in line with NWC’s recommendations,” said Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO (Singapore), NTUC FairPrice.
FairPrice employs about 8000 staff. Its “Singaporeans First” recruitment policy has enabled FairPrice to maintain a primarily local workforce. About 90 percent of FairPrice staff are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents and over 80 percent of its total workforce are Singapore citizens. It also values the experience and stability that mature workers bring into the workplace. About 40 percent of FairPrice staff are mature workers aged 50 years and above with some 465 staff members aged above 60 years old.
This wage increment and adjustments will increase FairPrice’s manpower costs by over $10 million per year. This excludes performance bonuses.
Commenting on the impact of the wage increase on the business bottom line, Mr Seah added, “While this wage boost will increase our manpower costs significantly, we feel that it is right to lift the wages of our staff as we employ innovative technologies to lift our productivity at the same time, so that we can continue to keep prices of daily essentials affordable for our customers.”
Taking Care of Staff Welfare is Key to FairPrice’s Success
FairPrice believes that having a team of dedicated and capable employees is fundamental to the success of its business, and that employees must be rewarded accordingly for their contributions to this success.
Besides receiving a competitive salary, FairPrice staff also receive various benefits such as dental and medical benefits, staff discount on purchases at FairPrice stores, additional leave days to celebrate special occasions with their families as well as study grants for their children. Staff can also expect special bonuses when the company performs well.
Over the last 2 years, FairPrice staff received special bonuses in recognition of their contribution to the company’s good performance. This year, FairPrice staff can also expect a special one-off bonus. This special bonus is given on top of the annual group and performance bonuses which are being computed based on a profit-sharing formula. Details of the special bonus will be announced later.
Commenting on the special bonus, Mr Seah said, “Thanks to the loyal patronage of our customers and the hard work of our staff, FairPrice has continued to perform well last year. Besides sharing our profits with our members, we also believe in sharing profits with our staff. This special bonus for our staff is our way of acknowledging their hard work and contributions to our continued success. This has always been our philosophy and it is also in line with NWC’s recommendations.”
Mr Tan Hock Soon, General Secretary of Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union, said, ” Since early this year the Union has been in discussion with NTUC FairPrice on raising the wages of staff and to also consider rewarding employees through a variable wage component. We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that FairPrice is giving higher wages to its staff and rewarding them with additional special bonus. This will go a long way to improving the economic conditions of their staff, who are our members, and augurs well for workers as wages are uplifted on a sustainable basis through productivity improvements”.
Apart from offering competitive wages and benefits, FairPrice also provides a caring work environment and encourages continuous learning so that staff may be able to deliver their best.
Madam Wong Hui Lan, 45, Retail Assistant at FairPrice, who has been with FairPrice for over 7 years said, “One of the reasons I have stayed with the company over the years is because of the sense of belonging working in FairPrice. We are like one big family. Many of my colleagues are my old friends and my bosses have also been kind to me.”
Assisting Employees in Times of Need
In 2008, as Singapore was impacted by global inflation, FairPrice also distributed $1.5 million worth of FairPrice vouchers to help staff cope with the rise in cost of living. Every year, FairPrice also gives out about $400,000 worth of study grants to children of its staff.