SINGAPORE'S National Wages Council (NWC) said on Friday unemployment and layoffs will be 'substantially higher' this year, and recommended that firms affected by economic downturn institute a wage freeze or wage cuts to stay competitive and save jobs.
Singapore was the first Asian economy to fall into a recession in 2008 and the government has warned that the economy may shrink as much as 2 per cent this year.
Recommendations by the NWC, which comprises of representatives from government, employers and unions, are not binding on employers but are usually followed by state-linked firms such as Singapore Telecommunications and DBS Group .
The council usually meets in May but was convened four months ahead of time to set wage guidelines amid the worsening economic outlook.
Singapore's unemployment rate was steady at 2.2 per cent in the third quarter. -- REUTERS