Tech firm Sabre cutting over 900 jobs

Sabre, a technology solutions provider for the airline and tourism sectors, will cut more than 900 jobs, including those in Singapore, The Straits Times has learnt.

Singapore is the Asian headquarters for the firm based in the United States.

Affected staff will get a week's pay for each year of service, sources said.

When contacted, a Sabre spokesman confirmed the job cuts but declined to comment on how many in Singapore were affected, or the compensation offered.

"The job reductions being implemented amount to approximately 9 per cent of our existing workforce of 10,000, plus the elimination of certain open positions," he said.

Despite the cuts, the firm said it will continue to hire and grow with a focus on skill sets and needs that reflect business strategies. The company provides airlines and hotel properties with software and other technology solutions to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, and flight, network and crew management.

The spokesman said: "We operate in a dynamic industry and remain focused on building our core capabilities for continued growth and success. From time to time, we adjust staffing to meet business requirements and opportunities, just like any well-managed company must do."

Singapore's Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation is aware of Sabre's retrenchment exercise and will engage the company to provide assistance to the affected employees, a spokesman said.

The Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers' Union, which represents a handful of affected staff in Singapore, is also in the loop.

Secretary-general David Yeo said his team will work with Sabre "to render all necessary assistance to affected members".

The Government has warned that while the Singapore economy is picking up, some sectors are going through difficulties. Jobs will be cut as these companies restructure to adapt to new requirements.

Since Sabre went public in 2014, it has added nearly 2,500 jobs, which is a growth of more than 30 per cent from the firm's pre-initial public offering employment base, the spokesman said.

The firm has customers in more than 160 countries and an annual turnover of more than US$3 billion (S$4.1 billion).

The job cuts come at a time when the airline and hospitality industries are facing challenges.

Even as the demand for air travel continues to grow strongly, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, airlines battling to put bums on seats have had to drop fares to lure travellers.

This has hit their bottom lines, which has in turn put pressure on suppliers like Sabre and others, including ground handlers, to also cut their charges.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2017, with the headline 'Tech firm Sabre cutting over 900 jobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe