SMRT bus drivers appeal to union chief Lim Swee Say

 

 
 
 
Dear Sir, 
 
APPEAL IN RESPECT OF REVISION OF SALARIES AND AVERAGE HOURLY SALARY FOR BUS DRIVERS 
 
1. We, employees of SMRT Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “Employees” and “Management” respectively), respectfully file this appeal for a reconsideration of the terms of employment with the Management following the recent revision of salaries for employees. 
 
2. We wish to state at the outset that we make this appeal in the spirit of compromise and in good faith. As loyal employees of SMRT Corporation, our objective is to secure an acceptable and mutually beneficial outcome for all parties concerned. This would necessarily include the customers whom we serve, the thousands of bus passengers who rely on our service for a safe and comfortable journey to their destinations. 
 
3. In summary, our appeal is for a reinstatement of a 5-day work week from the revised 6-day work week, incorporating the recent salary adjustments. In the alternative, in the event a 6-day work week cannot be granted due to exigencies of work and manpower constraints, we would appeal for an adjustment in salaries to reflect a true increase in daily gross remuneration of employees, rather than the current stagnation or outright diminution of daily wages as a result of longer working hours. 
 
4. We set out the reasons of our appeal as follows. 
 
Employment terms prior to the revision of salaries 
 
5. Prior the recent revision of salaries, employees worked a 5 day week. This was implemented sometime in 2005 by management, citing work-life balance as a reason for this change. Previously, employees worked a 6-day week. This move had the support of a vast majority of bus drivers, as the non-pecuniary benefit improved overall morale and lifted the spirits of employees who then had more time with their family and friends. 
 
6. The average salary of a bus driver before the revision was approximately from $1,100.00 to $1,500.00 per month. 
 
Employment terms after the revision of salaries 
 
7. On 1 May 2012, the average salaries of Singaporean bus drivers was increased by about $225.00 per month, while that of Malaysian and Permanent Resident bus drivers was increased by about $100.00. The move was a laudable one, no doubt motivated by consideration of management for the welfare of bus drivers, and to address competitive pressures in the bus industry in general. It is no doubt also apparent that the remuneration curve of bus drivers was lagging the national average in general and the announcement was welcome relief to employees. 
 
8. It is in this spirit, we believe, that the Secretary General and Executive Committee agreed with Management to accept the proposals by management. 
 
9. However, there has been a vital misunderstanding and lack of consideration made to a crucial aspect to the new terms of employment. This key aspect was in respect working hours that was set by Management on the back of the wage adjustments made. As stated above, Employees previously worked a 5-day work week. After the salary adjustments were announced, the work week was changed to a 6-day work week. 
 
10. This has had the detrimental effect of decimating any benefits derived from the salary increments in terms of the daily gross remuneration of a bus driver. We illustrate this point as follows. 
 
11. Using the formula for calculating gross remuneration as (Gross salary per month x 12 months) divided by 52 weeks to derive the weekly wage, and further divided by the number of days worked to derive the daily gross wage, the following 2 comparative tables can be drawn up a range of remuneration levels of bus driver: 
 
TABLE A: PRIOR TO THE SALARY INCREMENTS BASED ON A 5 DAY WORK WEEK 
 
Monthly Gross Wage Yearly Gross Wage Weekly Wage Daily Wage 
$1,100.00 $13,200.00 $253.85 $50.77 
$1,300.00 $15,600.00 $300.00 $60.00 
$1,500.00 $18,000.00 $346.15 $69.23 
 
TABLE B: AFTER THE SALARY INCREMENTS OF $225.00 PER MONTH BASED ON A 6 DAY WORK WEEK 
Monthly Gross Wage Yearly Gross Wage Weekly Wage Daily Wage 
$1,325.00 $15,900.00 $305.77 $50.96 
$1,525.00 $18,300.00 $351.92 $58.65 
$1,725.00 $20,700.00 $398.07 $66.35 
 
12. It is clear from a comparison of the last column of Table A and Table B that average gross daily remuneration levels have effectively been reduced as a result of the implementation of a 6-day work week. 
 
Our appeal is meritorious 
 
13. The increase in wages at the gross monthly level is not enjoyed at the gross daily level because of the increase of the work week by an extra 1 day. We believe that general principles with regards to increase in wages should take into account the following factors: 
 
(a) as a means to redress lagging wage levels in the general economy; 
(b) as a gauge to increased productivity gains, both current and planned; 
(c) as a means to increasing Employee welfare and satisfaction. 
The objectives in paragraph 13(b) commonly follow when the objectives in paragraphs 13(a) and 13(b) are met or exceeded. Regrettably, as is clear from our arguments in the preceding paragraphs, none of these objectives have been met. The salary increments have not had the intended effect of meeting social objectives or achieving economic benefits. 
14. As such, we would request that the Executive Committee and / or Secretary General commence follow up talks with Management for the purpose of tabling these arguments and seeking ways and means by which the salary increments can be translated into tangible gains for the Employees. 
 
15. We are available at any time to discuss this matter further with union representatives if any clarification is request on any matters raised herein. 
 
This letter of appeal is signed by the Employees whose names appear at Annex A of this letter. 
 

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