Around 4,000 staff from SMRT's trains division can now expect better job progression, more responsibilities and higher wages.
The public transport operator has set up a scheme that will create more rungs on the career ladder for staff, enlarge their job scope and raise their salary ceiling by up to 15 per cent.
Although it came into effect on July 1, the scheme was officially launched yesterday by NTUC secretary-general Lim Swee Say, senior SMRT staff and union leaders.
Similar to the one set up for SMRT's 2,000 bus drivers last November, the trains career scheme is adopted from the labour movement's progressive wage model.
SMRT's managing director for trains, Mr Lee Ling Wee, said a station customer service officer will now be known as an assistant station manager under the scheme and given additional duties, such as helping to supervise station facilities.
Under the previous scheme, these employees could have stagnated, but the new programme makes it possible for good performers to be promoted to station managers over time.
SMRT said the additional tiers on the career ladder will allow non-graduate staff who join at entry-level positions to be promoted to executive or managerial positions if they do well.
The new scheme also creates a "specialist" track to develop staff into experts in their respective fields such as train and station operations as well as engineering.
The operator believes deepening the specialisation of workers in these areas will help improve the reliability of the rail system as they become increasingly competent with more complex systems.
Staff will be sent for training to pick up additional skills and those who take on a larger role will be paid more.
For instance, train drivers would not previously have seen any change in their job scope but they will now mentor junior drivers, among other new responsibilities, thanks to the introduction of senior train captain and chief train captain ranks.
"Internally, I hope that it will motivate our staff to want to perform better," Mr Lee said. "Externally, I hope that we can demonstrate that we are doing our best to try and promote higher operational performance."
About 6,000, or three-quarters, of SMRT's staff are now under a progressive wage model.
Those who are not include staff in the commercial and corporate teams, as well as executive staff.
Kembangan senior station manager Nazilah Yusuf, 55, welcomed the new scheme. She has worked at SMRT for 28 years and said her salary did not increase for 15 years until a wage alignment exercise last year.
After chief executive Desmond Kuek took the helm, SMRT raised salaries for all staff by $320 a month in March last year. In April last year, it also implemented a $250 monthly performance incentive bonus for non-executive staff.
Ms Nazilah, 55, said her basic pay is now $3,400 a month. "I'm satisfied, at least there's some future after working here for so long. Before this, our ceiling was really stagnant."
Mr Rosmani Juraini is one of 11 train captains who have become senior train captains under the new scheme. He will now coach junior drivers and take part in other operations projects.
The 51-year-old, who is also president of the National Transport Workers' Union, said the scheme will allow train captains to grow their careers and get better wages.
"This is something train captains have been looking forward to for many years."
This article was first published on July 10, 2014.
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