An airline (SQ) that tells the whole world how good they are is facing problems of its own with low morale with their staff.
Read this article and it will make you wonder how bad the situation has become at Singapore Airlines.
SIA BOSSES MEET UNION LEADERS
Low morale? Let's talk
The closed-door meeting tackles concerns over spate of resignations and staff morale, sources tell REBECCA LEE
SINGAPORE Airlines top brass met leaders from the five SIA unions yesterday for what sources said was a discussion on flagging morale at the national carrier.
The closed-door morning meeting, involving SIA chairman Koh Boon Hwee, chief executive Chew Choon Seng and union officials, was an indication that a recent spate of resignations has raised concerns among management.
It is not clear who initiated the talks, but The Straits Times understands that the meeting, which lasted a few hours, centred on the low morale among staff.
'The morale is very bad and all of us are concerned because we care about the company. The unions were called in to see how they can assist in this area,' a source said.
Morale has apparently been affected by the 5 to 16.5 per cent wage cuts which followed the Sars outbreak; the retrenchment of nearly 600 staff; and the release of another 145 on special retirement packages.
SIA's quick turnaround in the July-to-September quarter did not help matters because some employees felt this recovery warranted a restoration of their pay.
The national carrier made a profit of $306 million in that quarter, reversing a first-ever loss of $312 million in the previous quarter.
SIA has not indicated what its thinking on this is, except to say it will honour the June agreement with unions to make a one-off lump sum payment to compensate for the wage cuts.
It has also not said whether pay cuts will be restored.
Even with the Government's intervention over escalating tensions between pilots and management - which saw bosses being told to improve on human-resource management - SIA could not say, when the press asked, what concrete plans it had to improve staff morale.
But yesterday's meeting was called to explore ways to get the airline out of the 'rut', a management source said, referring to what he saw as a startling number of resignations in recent months.
The unions also wanted to find a way to resolve the issue without government intervention, the source added.
It is understood that simmering unhappiness and the lure of higher paying jobs have led to more than 10 SIA pilots resigning recently, with another 12 having secured jobs elsewhere. More than five pilots have also left SilkAir, SIA's regional wing.
Unions say at least 11 SIA aircraft engineers and several cabin crew have also left, and that many more executives have quit.
A source said yesterday's meeting was 'very interactive', with both Mr Koh and Mr Chew reacting in a 'very positive way' and listening to the feedback from unionists.
At least two representatives were present from each of the five SIA unions: the SIA Staff Union; SIA Engineering Company Engineers and Executives Union; Singapore Airport Terminal Services Workers' Union; Air Transport Executives Staff Union; and Air Line Pilots' Association-Singapore.
SIA would not comment on the discussion, but a spokesman said: 'We have regular meetings involving management and unions representing SIA staff.
'We have a commitment to continue to better communicate with SIA staff and their representatives. As a matter of principle, we do not provide a running commentary on this dialogue.'
Union representatives contacted also declined to comment on the meeting. It is understood that both sides agreed that they would not go public with the meeting or what was said.
SIA's problems have been in the spotlight recently, especially after last month's ouster of leaders of the pilots' union, which drew criticism from several ministers.