100 SilkAir workers to lose jobs in merger with SIA, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

100 SilkAir workers to lose jobs in merger with SIA

This article is more than 12 months old

About 100 staff members from SilkAir will lose their jobs over the next 20 months as the regional wing of Singapore Airlines (SIA) progressively shuts down its offices in 18 regional cities.

Those affected are based in Indonesia, India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar.

Their jobs will become redundant when SilkAir transfers existing services to these markets to Scoot, the budget arm of SIA. The switch is part of a merger plan that will see SilkAir folded into SIA.

SilkAir will be working with affected workers for placement opportunities in other SIA stations, an SIA spokesman told The Straits Times.

It is also working with Scoot and other industry partners to help find alternative work for those affected.

"We will also be engaging the services of employment agencies on placement assistance, and offering compensation packages where applicable," he said.

On whether there will be more route changes and transfers, he said: "Such reviews will continue to be carried out regularly, and should decisions be taken for additional transfers, they will be announced accordingly."

SIA said in May that a significant investment programme would be undertaken to upgrade SilkAir's cabin products ahead of its eventual merger with SIA.

This is to ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group's full-service network.

Before the merger between SIA and SilkAir, the two airlines will need to sort out how staff remuneration will be affected, said human resource experts.

The SIA spokesman said: "These aspects of the integration are currently under review to ensure a smooth transition for staff and our operations."

ST understands that, for the most part, SilkAir sworkers will receive SIA salaries and benefits, which are generally better.

On how the integration will affect SilkAir pilots, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association - Singapore said: "We are in advanced discussions internally and with the company to pave the way for a smooth integration between SIA and SilkAir pilots.

"The two airlines have different remuneration packages, so the aim is to put everyone on an even keel and seamlessly sew in a universally acceptable seniority list. In the end, no pilot must be worse off. That is the challenge before us."

SilkAir has some 600 cabin crew members and they will also move to SIA, said Mr Alan Tan, president of the Singapore Airlines Staff Union - SIA's biggest union, which represents cabin crew.

He said: "There is a different service culture at SIA compared with SilkAir and our in-flight service is also more elaborate."

A SilkAir cabin crew worker who did not wish to be named said: "SIA is more strict than SilkAir when it comes to body mass index, which has to be a within a certain range, so it's time to hit the gym."