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The Messenger makes another "pre-emptive blow"

Million-dollar minister-without-portfolio, Mr Lim Boon Heng [also NTUC chief], has joined the attack on unionised pilots of SIA for voting out their leaders recently.


The nation-builder press, Nov 25, 2003

In the above report, NTUC chief Lim Boon Heng was reacting to the sacking of all 20 officials by the Air Line Pilots Association of $ingapore on Nov 17, which highlighted widespread dissatisfaction over the union's inability to fight management over steep wage cuts after travel demand plunged due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak and the US-led war against Iraq.

It is not clear from the report how
the sacking of the officials by the pilot's union could jeopardise the airline from earning its profits.

Here is the background to the current assault on SIA pilots by PAP ministers:


The nation-builder press, Oct 30 2003

THE REPORT SAID: "$ingapore Airlines (SIA) has put the Sars nightmare behind it with a stunning return to profit as passengers flocked to the skies again... It's cost-cutting measures - including the controversial axing of nearly 600 staff - paid off handsomely, with the profit being three times more than some expectations."

The PAP calls itself a "people-first" government. You can take PM Goh Chok Tong's "word for it."


The nation-builder press, Oct 20 2003

THE REPORT SAID: "$ingapore Airlines cabin crew say that the recent wage cuts they suffered were small change compared to what they have been losing in allowances. These workers told Streats that the drastic drop in assignments and faster turnaround in overseas destinations have taken a big chunk out of their meal and flight allowances.

"A leading steward said that his basic salary is $1,800 a month. He joined SIA in 1992 and has been a leading steward for four years. Like the others, he was willing to speak only on condition of anonymity. 'The 7.5 per cent wage cut means I lose $135. But the meal allowance for a London trip can come up to more than $550 and if I don't get any such trips, I'm worse off,' he said."

People-first? And, by the way, why bother quoting a source who wants to speak "on condition of anonymity" when letter writers to any nation-builder press are not allowed to be anonymous? Why so quiet $ingapore?


The nation-builder press, Oct 28 2003

THE REPORT SAID: "When Mr Lim (Boon Heng, NTUC Secretary-General) mentioned the trend of companies retrenching while they were still profitable, he used the term 'pre-emptive strikes.' Some workers misunderstood this to mean that he was actually supporting such retrenchments."

So exactly, what do you mean, Mr Lim? Are you going to take SIA to task now?


The nation-builder press, Oct 12 1999 - People First Government


The nation-builder press, Nov 3 2003

THE REPORT SAID: "SIA, which made a surprise $306 million profit in the quarter ending September, had laid off staff, cut pay and imposed unpaid leave. However, the return to profitability is no reason for SIA staff to expect their salaries to be restored, [SM Lee Kuan Yew] added. 'We should take our time, get back to cruising speed and maybe in two or three years, we will rethink our programme'."

Guess who has to tell SIA unions the news? Time to shoot the world's most expensive, million-dollar messenger again.

Note: When PAP ministers took a "pay-cut" this year, they also said it would last for only 12 months. In May, the PAP government announced a 10 % pay cut for ministers and top civil servants would start July 2003 and end June 2004.

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