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SIA – making a mockery of government policies

This is the letter by Leong Sze Hian which was published in the New paper on 18 September. Read also: Even GLCs are cutting older workers’ pay?

Leong Sze Hian

I REFER to media reports that female flight crew of Singapore Airlines (SIA) may finally get maternity benefits when their services are terminated because of pregnancy.

Why is it that such a discriminatory practice against women who work in SIA is still allowed?

The president of the Singapore Airlines Staff Union was quoted as saying that on average, about 20 Singapore Girls become pregnant every month.

Does this mean that thousands of young women have lost their jobs without any compensation over the years?

While the proposal is a step forward now, why did it take so long? Why was nothing done by the union about this discriminatory policy for so many years?

In my view, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports should not condone such a policy.

Even if the proposal to compensate them with four months' paid maternity leave is approved by SIA, it does not address the fundamental discriminatory issue - that of terminating the services of Singapore Girls when they become pregnant.

The right to bear children is a universal right, which should not be denied.

SIA is, in a way, making a mockery of the Government's procreation efforts. What if other employers also follow this policy?

Aren't women supposed to be protected by the Manpower Ministry's employment regulations against female employees being dismissed because of pregnancy?

The Singapore Girl has arguably been the most internationally recognised icon of Singapore. How can we continue to be proud of that image as long there is such discrimination behind it?