Photo of Khaw Boon Wan and SMRT staff from Facebook

After years of complaints about low wages, SMRT employees are finally getting a significant pay raise. The state-owned transport operator announced yesterday (Feb 24) that it will start raising wages and improving employment benefits:

“From Mar 1, starting pay for engineers with good honours degrees will be increased by up to S$350 a month to S$3,800. Polytechnic graduates will see a starting basic pay of S$2,400, an increase of S$200, and those with Higher National Institute of Technical Education Certificate (NITEC) will see a starting basic pay of S$1,900, an increase of S$225.”

SMRT currently have 11,000 employees and it said it will hire 2,500 more over the next three to five years, with the bulk of the new hires will go into the train divisions:

“The hiring will increase the headcount for its trains division by 45 per cent, and boost the number of rail engineers by 40 per cent. Employees in its trains division who have “exhibited consistent good performance” and are healthy will now be offered five-year re-employment contracts when they turn 62. Previously, these workers were re-employed on yearly contracts up to 67 years old. Selected experienced staff will also be re-skilled and redeployed to areas such as quality control, inspection, safety and as trainers.”

The current salary structure comprises of a 13-month annual wage supplement and a half-yearly company bonus based off the profits. It is unknown how much salaries will CEO Desmond Kuek and Lee Ling Wee will receive following the pay raise announcement. The former army general last received S$1.8 million, despite worsening rail reliability standards.