Singapore Airlines (SIA) Cargo barely avoided a walkout by its pilots by agreeing to the company’s first collective agreement with them. The compromise came only a day before the SIA Cargo branch of the Airline Pilots Association- Singapore (Alpa-S) was preparing both a strike ballot and a meeting with the Singapore Industrial Arbitration Court.
The 240 pilots from SIA’s cargo division, which was spun-off from the main airline in 2001, were planning to vote on industrial action as part of an ongoing dispute with the company over pay and working conditions.
The cargo pilots were seeking the same rights as the pilots in the passenger division, claiming it was unfair that they were treated differently when they had to meet the same standards. The pilots were also demanding backdated pay increases of 2.5 per cent for 2009, instead of the company’s offer of a one-off payment.
The compromise agreement will see the cargo pilots receive the same benefits and pay as pilots flying for the passenger division, but instead of the pay increase for 2009 the pilots will receive one-off payments of S$2,000 (US$1,600) for captains and S$1,300 for first officers.
The collective agreement will be backdated to 1 January and will last for three years and the benefits are understood to include transport allowances, bonuses and location meal allowances.