Talks on better benefits for SMRT workers end in up to 10% increase in starting pay for some

SMRT has also introduced performance excellence incentives to boost team efficiency and productivity, including introducing a Rail Excellence Team-based Award last month.
SMRT has also introduced performance excellence incentives to boost team efficiency and productivity, including introducing a Rail Excellence Team-based Award last month.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Talks between transport operator SMRT and the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) have concluded, resulting in improvements to worker welfare, including higher starting salaries from March 1 and extended re-employment contracts for retired workers.

Starting salaries of graduate engineers will be raised by up to $350 or 10 per cent.

Engineers with "good honours degrees" can get starting salaries of up to $3,800 per month, SMRT, which has a 11,000-strong workforce, announced the changes on Saturday (Feb 24).

Polytechnic graduates will have an increase of $200 in their starting salaries, drawing a basic pay of $2,400 per month, while those with Higher National Institute of Technical Education Certificates will draw a basic pay of $1,900 per month, up by $225.

As for retired workers, they can be re-employed for a longer period of time.

Currently, there are re-employed based on yearly contracts, up to the age of 67.

The new changes mean that those who retire at 62 can sign five-year re-employment contracts up to the age of 67.

Selected experienced staff will also be re-skilled and redeployed to areas where their experience and knowledge can be put to good use, such as in quality control, inspection, and safety, and as trainers.

SMRT has also introduced performance excellence incentives to boost team efficiency and productivity, including introducing a Rail Excellence Team-based Award last month.

Work teams that meet team performance targets can earn up to $250 per employee per quarter under the award scheme.

These changes come as SMRT aims to recruit up to 2,500 more employees over the next three to five years.

This includes hiring 200 more engineers for its current MRT lines and the Thomson East Coast Line, which will open in phases from next year.

The new employees will increase SMRT trains' headcount by 45 per cent and boost the number of SMRT rail engineers by 40 per cent.

NTWU executive secretary Melvin Yong said the improvements made by SMRT "are a step forward in ensuring that the employment terms and conditions of our rail and bus workers in SMRT remain competitive".

"Moving ahead, NTWU and SMRT will continue to work closely to ensure that the rail and bus workers in SMRT are well-equipped with the right skills and knowledge to take on future and higher-value jobs," he said. "Just as we have done so in the past, NTWU looks forward to co-creating initiatives with SMRT to operationalise the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map and to manage the workforce transformation together."