Developers to share soaring labour costs as Covid restrictions bite, Singapore rules

The government of Singapore yesterday passed emergency legislation providing a framework for developers to share foreign manpower cost increases with contractors amid a sharp contraction of labour supply brought about by the pandemic.

The number of construction work permit holders in the country has dropped by some 15%, and is projected to fall further, Minister of National Development Desmond Lee told parliament. 

Median construction wages in March 2021 were 15-30% higher compared to pre-Covid levels owing to the shrinking supply of workers, he added.

Last month Singapore blocked workers from India, one of its main sources of construction labour, amid the spiralling Covid crisis there.

Today, Lee said the latest measure was needed "so that everyone can pull through this crisis". 

He added that the government still wanted to "move the construction industry away from low skilled labour towards more productive modes of construction, and grow a core of higher skilled workers".

Image posted to Facebook by Singapore’s Minister of National Development, Desmond Lee

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