SMRT bus drivers could earn $1,000 more a month

SMRT bus drivers could earn $1,000 more a month

SINGAPORE - A new wage model will allow an average local bus driver working at SMRT to earn as much as $1,000 more, or $3,500 a month.

Previously, he could make about $2,500 a month, including overtime, allowances and performance incentives.

The new scheme, called a progressive wage model, also has more ranks and broader salary ranges, a change that promises greater career opportunities.

There will be six ranks for moving up, an increase from three. Also, career advancement is clearly spelt out, with tailored training at each rank for drivers.

All of SMRT's 2,100 drivers, whether local or foreign, will be included in the scheme, developed with the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU).

In announcing the change yesterday, SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek said: "The ability to retain talent and maintain our staff's workforce health is key in ensuring that SMRT continues to deliver an excellent travel experience to commuters."

The move by the public transport operator marks two major developments.

One, it is a step forward for the labour movement's progressive wage model, which hit a hump in September when talks to raise the wages of security guards stalled.

The model was introduced last year to raise workers' salaries through better skills and higher productivity.

Two, it is a response to a strike last November by a group of its bus drivers from China, over living conditions and the pay gap between them and their Malaysian colleagues.

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