SIA pilots agree to deeper pay cuts amid Covid-19 to save more jobs

The pay cuts are on top of a 10 per cent cut in the monthly variable component of their salaries.
The pay cuts are on top of a 10 per cent cut in the monthly variable component of their salaries.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilots have agreed to take deeper pay cuts of up to 50 per cent so that more of them can stay employed.

This is on top of a 10 per cent cut in the monthly variable component (MVC) of their salaries, The Straits Times has learnt.

With the new agreement reached between SIA and the Air Line Pilots Association - Singapore (Alpa-S), re-employed captains and first officers will see their salaries cut by 60 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, starting on Oct 1. This includes the 10 per cent MVC cut.

Other captains will take pay cuts of up to 28.5 per cent, while first officers will take pay cuts of up to 18.5 per cent, depending on their current pay.

In an internal circular - a copy of which was seen by The Straits Times - the pilots were told: "We are pleased to announce that a memorandum of agreement was signed with Alpa-S effective 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2022 on additional pay cuts to avoid further job losses."

This latest agreement supersedes the previous one dated Aug 6, said SIA's senior vice-president of flight operations Quay Chew Eng and Alpa-S president Kenneth Lai.

The pay cuts will be reviewed and adjusted if flying hours increase, the pilots were told.

An SIA spokesman confirmed that an agreement has been reached.

He said yesterday: "As per today's agreement, the company will implement additional pay cuts for all remaining pilots in Singapore Airlines and SilkAir with effect from Oct 1. As a result, this agreement will help to mitigate further job losses for our pilots.

"The SIA Group is focused on navigating and overcoming the challenges ahead of us in this extremely uncertain operating climate."

The Straits Times understands that SIA, which has about 2,600 pilots, has retrenched about 50 of them, mainly foreigners.

 
 
 
 

The airline has said it expects to operate at under 50 per cent of its capacity at the end of this fiscal year, compared with pre-Covid-19 levels.

It now operates at about 8 per cent of its passenger capacity compared with before the pandemic.

SIA is currently in the process of downsizing its workforce.

It announced last week that it would cut around 4,300 positions, and this included letting go 2,400 staff in a retrenchment exercise that started on Monday.

On Tuesday, it was reported that SIA had let go about half of its cadet pilots and cabin crew trainees.

The rest will have to leave after their training is completed.

The airline said it will be unable to keep them after that due to the current surplus in staff numbers.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2020, with the headline 'SIA pilots agree to deeper pay cuts to save more jobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe