SIA pilots refuse to accept plan to cut wages


SINGAPORE: Pilots in Singapore Airlines are digging in and refusing to accept cost-cutting measures to keep the airline viable, despite urgings from the top, including from Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. 

SIA's wage-cut proposals are unacceptable, Air Line Pilots Association Singapore (Alpa-S) spokesman Frank John said, because the result would be a cut of up to 50% in pilots' monthly incomes. 

“Alpa-S has been singled out for mention although no other SIA union, as far as we know to date, has agreed to wage reductions, except for cabin crew taking compulsory no-pay leave,” he said. 

The statement came a day after Goh joined other government leaders and appealed to pilots to be flexible, saying the carrier's losses could mount to $1bil this year. 

Alpa-S represents 1,600 Singapore-based pilots. They are refusing to take 10 to 12 days of compulsory no-pay leave every two months and want SIA to first release 120 foreign pilots based overseas. 

Management has also proposed wage cuts of 22.5% for captains and 15% for first officers. But pilots say this, plus the loss of flying hours, mean a loss of up to half their income. 

Capt John said Monday's meeting with management to try and resolve the issue has been postponed to Tuesday. 

SIA spokesman Rick Clements said the airline was still talking with unions and remained committed “to taking whatever steps are necessary to get through this critical period with as few job losses as possible.” 

Goh said the government would not intervene if negotiations stalled.  

But he urged the pilots to make personal sacrifices, saying the best way to protect their jobs is to ensure SIA continues to be a quality airline. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network 

  • Another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network. 

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