Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced today that its 6,600-plus cabin crew
members have been asked to take seven days' unpaid leave every two months for the rest of the financial year, which ends
31 March 2004. This move is the latest cost management measure taken by the Airline in
response to the impact of SARS on operations.
Cabin crew were informed of the decision today, after SIA management had
consulted with their union leadership over the weekend.
Said Senior Vice-President (Cabin Crew) Sim Kay Wee, "The decision was
reached jointly with the union leaders, who must be praised for their understanding and cooperation. There is no disguising the surplus in crew
numbers following a substantial reduction in the flight schedules, but it is
heartening that we were able to discuss this problem together and reach an
agreement on this latest measure."
Mr Sim added that the number of days' unpaid leave would be kept under
review and may have to be increased in line with further capacity cuts. However,
he said any changes to the Scheme would be made only after further discussion with union leaders.
The compulsory unpaid leave scheme takes effect from the start of May
2003 and the leave dates of individual crew members will be determined by a
The decision to introduce the compulsory unpaid leave scheme follows
capacity cuts to match the much-reduced demand for air travel caused by the spread of SARS, the recent conflict in Iraq, and the slowing global
economy. The airline said that discussions about a similar scheme for pilots will be held with the
Air Line Pilots Association - Singapore.
Earlier this month, many cabin crew voluntarily applied for unpaid leave of
between two weeks and five months on a voluntary basis. Although these applications were readily approved, this step alone did not reduce surplus
crew numbers significantly.