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Home > Tripartite Initiatives > National Wages Council

National Wages Council

Background & Objectives


The National Wages Council (NWC) was formed in 1972, at a time when Singapore was undergoing a period of rapid industrialisation, which had resulted in rising wage expectations. There were concerns that high wage expectations would lead to serious industrial disputes, which could dampen the investment climate and adversely affect the economic progress of Singapore.


The NWC was thus set up to formulate wage guidelines to be in line with long-term economic growth, so that Singapore’s economic and social development would not be undermined.




The NWC is a tripartite body comprising representatives from the three social partners – the employers, the trade unions and the Government. 


The Council meets every year to deliberate and forge national consensus on wage and wage-related matters. It issues guidelines on these matters every year based on the tripartite consensus reached during the deliberations. 


Tripartite Members of the 2021/2022 National Wages Council

1. Mr Peter Seah Lim Huat, Chairman, DBS Bank Ltd
Employer Group Employee Group Government Group
2. Dr Robert Yap, President, Singapore National Employers Federation 9. Ms Mary Liew, President, National Trades Union Congress 16. Mr Aubeck Kam, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Manpower
3. Mr Gan Seow Kee, Vice-Chairman, Singapore Business Federation 10. Mr Desmond Choo, Assistant Secretary-General, National Trades Union Congress 17. Mr Gabriel Lim, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade & Industry
4. Mr Kuah Boon Wee, Vice President, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry 11. Ms Toh Hwee Tin, Director, Industrial Relations, National Trades Union Congress and Executive Secretary, Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union and Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’ Union 18. Ms Teoh Zsin Woon, Deputy Secretary (Transformation), Public Service Division
5. Ms Kohe Hasan, Board Member, Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce & Industry 12. Mr Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari, General Secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Employees 19. Mr Tan Choon Shian, Chief Executive, Workforce Singapore
6. Mr Alexander C Melchers, Council Member, Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry & Commerce 13. Mr Richard Tan, General Secretary, United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries 20. Mr Ong Tze Chin, Chief Executive, SkillsFuture Singapore
7. Mr Timothy Lynch, Governor, The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore 14. Mr Sazali Bin Zainal, President, Singapore Industrial & Services Employees’ Union 21. Mr Damian Chan, Executive Vice President, Economic Development Board
8. Mr Manabu Yoshida, Councillor, Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Singapore 15. Mr Ong Hwee Liang, General Secretary, SIA Engineering Company Engineers and Executives Union 22. Mr Jayakrishnan s/o Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, Enterprise Singapore
Employer Group Employee Group Government Group
23. Mr Sim Gim Guan, Executive Director, Singapore National Employers Federation 28. Mr Bernard Menon, Executive Director, Migrant Workers Centre 33. Mr Poon Hong Yuen, Deputy Secretary (Workforce), Ministry of Manpower
24. Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation 29. Ms Sylvia Choo, Director, Unions, National Trades Union Congress and Executive Secretary, Singapore Industrial & Services Employees’ Union 34. Mr Adrian Chua, Deputy Secretary (Industry), Ministry of Trade & Industry
25. Dr T Chandroo, Chairman, Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry 30. Ms Julie Cheong Ai Hung, President, Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union 35. Mr Foo Kok Jwee, Deputy Chief Executive, Workforce Singapore
26. Dr Claus Trenner, Vice President, Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry & Commerce 31. Mr Asrudin As’ad, President, Singapore Shell Employees’ Union 36. Mr Tan Kong Hwee, Executive Vice President, Economic Development Board
27. Mr Wee Choo Hua, Governor, The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore 32. Mr Raymond Chin, General Secretary, Union of Security Employees  


Formulation & Use of NWC Guidelines

How does the NWC come up with its guidelines?


In making its recommendations on wage adjustments for the year, the NWC takes into consideration factors such as productivity growth, employment situation, international competitiveness, and economic growth and prospects. Public views are also sought and taken into account when drawing up the guidelines.


A guiding principle established and observed by the NWC is that real wage increases should be in line with productivity growth over the long term. This is to ensure that wage increases are in line with economic growth and sustainable in the long run, so that Singapore’s competitiveness can be preserved and enhanced. 


How are the guidelines used?


The NWC wage guidelines are used by both unionised and non-unionised companies. Employers and unions in unionised companies use the guidelines as a framework for wage negotiation based on the circumstances faced by each company. Employers in the non-unionised sector that do not engage in collective bargaining have also relied on the guidelines as a reference point in determining wage increases for their employees.


After the 1985/86 recession, the NWC moved away from issuing quantitative guidelines to qualitative guidelines. This is to allow more flexibility in wage negotiations and to accelerate wage reform so that wage increases are more closely linked to the performance of the economy, company and individual employees. A flexible wage system also enables companies to adjust wage costs more responsively to changing business conditions so as to remain competitive in the global market.  

Useful links


NWC Guidelines for 2020/2021

Supplementary NWC Guidelines for 2020/2021


Contact us


For enquiries on the NWC, please contact the NWC Secretary through the following email address: