Established in 1947, SIASU is the only Union in Singapore that represents Aviation Sector employees like the Cabin Crew, Technicians and General Staff of the SIA Group of Companies.
Workers form Unions for collective strength to advance their interests, to ensure their rights are protected, to enhance their job security and maintain continuous income stability, while working together to keep their work-life balance for a bright future. Thus Unions recognize that the best form of welfare for workers is for them to be gainfully employed. On behalf of the President and the Executive Council of SIASU, may I take this opportunity to wish you all happy May Day and many more good years ahead!
I have been with SIASU for 36 years, including its predecessor, the Singapore Air Transport- Workers' Union (SATU). In 1975, I started to serve SATU as a shop steward and then as a committee member in the SIA Engineering Branch. When elected into the Executive Council in July 1988, I began to do active Union work in SIASU. From 1996 to 2007 I served the Union as one of the Assistant General Secretaries and was the Assistant Treasurer from 1994 to 1996. Simultaneously I continued to serve in the Engine Overhaul Branch as its Chairman for 22 years from 1988 to 2010 and sat in the NTUC Engineering Cluster Committee from 1999 to 2001. The Labour Education Committee entrusted me, from 1991 to 1993, to look after the training needs of members and Union officials and the annual educational awards for member's children. While handling Industrial Relations matters since 1988, I was part of a negotiating team and a signatory to two Collective Agreements with SIA and SIA Engineering Company and three Collective Agreements with Eagle Services Asia.
We are currently a new team, working ceaselessly with conviction and commitment to serve our members to achieve improvements to their working conditions and enhance their economic and social status. Since taking office from 3rd January 2011 and in just over 100 days, we have reached milestone agreements by securing:
- Service Increment for year 2011
- Restoration of 10% wage cut without any conditions for members who had turned 60 years
- Terms & conditions for re-employment after retirement at aged 62
Despite this progress, we have a long way to go. Continuous negotiations are in progress with other Subsidiaries of Singapore Airlines to secure the above. Currently, negotiations are on with Singapore Airlines at Pan-Union Level for a new Profit Sharing Bonus formula to come into effect from financial year 2011/2012 onwards.
While negotiations are currently on going with Singapore Airlines for new Collective Agreement, proposals are simultaneously being progressively served on SilkAir, SIA Cargo, Tradewinds Tours & Travels and Eagle Services Asia.
The Union is the voice for workers - negotiating with management, engaging and encouraging workers, driving employability and employment initiative while helping the Company push for productivity improvements. The company must be mindful and respond to the interests and welfare of its workers. These should never be taken for granted or compromised in the vain pursuit of corporate policies like cost savings and KPI goals! We have come a long way in our efforts to promote the re-employment of older workers. The Company should see older workers as a strategic and important resource and adopt clear policies on their re-employment. It must move away from an ad hoc, random approach in the re-employment to a more pro-active, structured and systematic policy. More than ever, SIASU needs to motivate its members to fight for lifelong employability, which is only achieved through lifelong learning. Members must see the benefits of upgrading their skills continuously and even having to retrain completely for new jobs, if necessary. The Companies will benefit from a higher skilled, creative and resourceful work force. Our members will also benefit by becoming better equipped to take on more challenges with better paying jobs. Nevertheless, management must provide opportunities for all and workers should be judged on merit and performance. We should not allow discriminatory employment practices of any form to creep into our work force. It is imperative that harmonious labour-management relations be the order of the day. The Union must be accepted as being in partnership with the Company as it strives for greater success. Management must take the views of workers into consideration before implementing work processes and policies. We should not be seen as a rival body, to be used only in time of need.
Success is all about growing yourself. But when you become a leader, success is all about growing others. For the labour movement to succeed, it needs to ensure that its leadership remains strong, progressive and relevant, strengthen their capabilities and prepare those who have the aspiration and the potential for higher responsibilities. SIASU is no exception to the changes! It considers one of the main tasks in the immediate future to be that of helping out a core of young Union leaders for effective leadership renewal.
We look forward to working closer with you, SIASU members, in forging a brighter future for all of us.
With Warmest Regards,