It's official: SMRT bus captains will be getting a basic starting salary on a par with the rest in the industry, after successful negotiations between the transport operator and the union.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the new terms was inked between the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) and SMRT yesterday evening to finalise the new terms. SMRT bus captains will now have $325 of existing variable incentives built into their basic salaries. This will bring the starting pay for Singaporean and permanent resident bus drivers up to $1,950 from $1,625.
New drivers can earn a monthly gross salary of up to $3,450 with bonuses and incentives.
In addition, they will receive "team-based incentives" under the new terms, which are monthly cash rewards given to teams that meet performance targets.
"This encourages different job functions in bus operations to work closely as a team to achieve the performance targets, and be rewarded accordingly for their efforts," said Mr Melvin Yong, executive secretary of NTWU.
He said the union is pleased that SMRT has made "considerable effort" to match the employment packages offered by other public transport operators (PTOs).
"Through our discussions with the company, SMRT has shown support for NTWU's initiative to raise the starting basic salary of SMRT bus captains to be in line with the other PTOs."
Last month, the transport operator said its bus drivers will be able to continue working until age 69, while enjoying the same pay and benefits as their younger colleagues. SMRT Buses staff also received an increase in annual leave from 18 to 21 days.
SMRT is the latest to increase the wages of its bus captains. In recent months, the other three bus operators have also announced similar pay increases.
In July, new bus operator Go-Ahead Singapore announced that it was increasing the minimum basic starting salary for all its Singaporean and PR bus captains to $1,950 a month, from $1,865 previously, with immediate effect.
In May, new operator Tower Transit raised its starting pay to $1,930 a month, up 3.5 per cent.
And in June, largest bus operator SBS Transit raised its starting pay to $1,950, up more than 9 per cent from $1,775 previously.
Mr Yong said the NTWU will continue to work closely with the company to take care of the well-being of mature workers through programmes such as health checks.
"Now that the MOU has been officially inked, NTWU will be working together with the company to communicate the revised employment package to the workers over the next few weeks," he said.