Six days a week, he was charged with clearing trays and cleaning tables, but a new financial support scheme to foster additional food places to install trays may help to reduce his workload.Mr Chng Tiong Sun, 72, Hawker Center cleaner @ Our Tampine Hub, said yesterday to The New Paper: “We will have more time to tackle the tables and sanitate them.” “This would facilitate things as we would.
Launched on 16 April by the National Environment Agency, approximately 1.125 coffee shops and 220 foodcourses will benefit from the Clean Tables Support Scheme there.The scheme forms part of the campaign for clean tables that has taken place since February. It aims to encourage public restaurants users and stakeholders to keep the tables clean for the next dinner.
Senior State Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said she hopes these initiatives will encourage operators to maintain their restaurant environment and to facilitate the return of used cupboards and vaults to diners in a Facebook post, on April 17.
“I would like to reassure everyone that cleaning up after ourselves will not cause cleaners to lose their jobs,” Dr Khor wrote.
“With our ageing cleaning workforce, doing so will actually make their jobs less laborious, and hopefully encourage others to join the profession or even stay on the job to mitigate the labour crunch,” she added.
At lunch yesterday, when TNP visited Hawker [email protected] Our Tampines Hub, most diners did not use the tables, despite their being visible or accessible. Mr. Chng, who works about four hours a day and earns $700 a month, said the plates and trays that are left on dirty tables are common.
“Only about a third of diners come back. I am not sure whether they will take the initiative to clarify themselves even if there are more (tray-return facilities) “He said. He said.
Mr. Chen Ling Dong, 40, a Tampines Street 81 cleaner at Food Park, agreed. He says diners don’t return their trays as a standard practice.
“To them, there are no benefits for clearing their trays. So they leave it to us,” he said.
However, the problem was mentioned by other cleaners, TNP, instead of getting diners to inculcate the custom of returning trays. Mrs Toh Hong Min, Block 203 Toa Payoh North coffee shop cleaner, said: “Nearly everybody clears their trays here. But during lunchtime there are just two cleaners, and sometimes it is just me.” She said she struggles to clear plate in the tray-return area as it quickly piles up.
One dinner at the Kovan 209 Food Center, a housewife who just wanted to be known as K. Chan, says that a cleaner had once chided her in the Whampoa Food Centre for clearing her trays.I was shocked, but I think the cleaner was afraid she’d lose her job.
“I still feel it is the right thing to clear up after ourselves. This gives cleaners less pressure and more time to return plates to stalls,” said the 56-year-old.
Ms Jamie How, 30, of One Heart Cleaning, which hires cleaners for Tekka Centre, said having more tray-returning facilities would not lead to a manpower cut in the cleaning industry.
“In fact, we are still hiring cleaners. The work they do is tough, so this scheme will make things easier, not take away their jobs,” she added.The President of the Public Hygiene Council, Ms Edward D’Silva, said that funding alone could not be enough to alter the behavior of the diners.Operators must also consider enhancing the visibility of the physical arrangement and the location of tray-return stations.
He added that a type of law should also be investigated to make sure that operators comply with higher standards.
Clean tables support scheme
- Coffee and hawker center operators may request funds from May 1, covering installation costs of trays and trolley return facilities.
- This year NEA will be co-funding buys from May 1st until Oct 31st, and up to 50 percent of the costs of coffee and hawk centers can be supported at a cost of $2,500 per premise.
In the 114 Hawker centers it manages, NEA will install another 75 tray-back racks in the top of the existing 900 racks.
Source: The New Paper