SIA, pilots disagree on cost cuts


SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) failed to reach a deal over wage cuts and compulsory unpaid leave with its 1,600-strong pilots union in a second round of talks yesterday. 

The Singapore flag carrier, facing an unprecedented quarterly loss, has been unable to convince the union to accept deep cost-cutting measures to weather a collapse in regional travel triggered by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. 

The pilots wanted the airline to justify how it had arrived at various percentages for salary cuts and specify when these cuts would be restored, said Captain Perinpanayagam James, the union’s vice-president of industrial relations. 

He said the pilots accepted that the airline wanted to achieve a 25% or S$200mil savings in wage costs and had offered some ways of doing so. “To do that, we said take one week of no pay leave, but they have declined that,” he said. 

The Air Line Pilots Association Singapore has rejected proposals for as much as a 22.5% salary cut and up to 12 days of compulsory unpaid leave every two months, unless SIA first sacks 120 foreign pilots based overseas. – Reuters  

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