The Straits Times reported October 1, 2011 that The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) had meted out fines amounting to more than $150,000 to 16 employment agencies for collectively fixing the pay of new Indonesian maids. Members of the group were each fined between $5,000 and $42,317.
The CCS explained that the fines handed out varied because they were pegged to their respective turnover, among other factors. The fines meted out are less than 1 per cent of the turnover.
The agencies were found to have infringed the Competition Act, which prohibits business competitors from trying to raise prices in concert, among other things, by discussing a collective pay rise for the maids, from about $380 to $450 per month. The commission launched an investigation following media reports on January 19 this year that the parties had met and discussed raising the monthly salaries of new Indonesian maids. News of the proposed pay rise, however, had triggered angry complaints from some Singaporean families.
For their part, the agencies had defended their more, arguing that it was a response to the supply crunch by making it more attractive for domestic helpers to work here.
Although the agencies had a right of appeal, the newspaper reported that most were not planning to do so.
Source: Straits Times, October 1, 2011: 16 maid agencies fined for price-fixing, by Amanda Tan.