SMRT, SATS join other Singapore companies in cutting pay amid COVID-19 outbreak

Janet Ong
Finance Editor
(PHOTO: Getty Creative)

SINGAPORE — Transport operator SMRT Corp. and airline services provider, SATS Ltd., join the list of Singapore companies cutting pay amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In light of the challenging situation arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, SMRT is implementing a salary reduction of up to 5.0% and a 0.5-month reduction in bonus for its management staff this year,” according to Neo Kian Hong, Group CEO, SMRT, in a email reply on Thursday (27 February).

SMRT, fully owned by Temasek, said however that it will continue with “the planned recruitment efforts for the new Thomson-East Coast Line to better serve our commuters”.

State investor Temasek said on Tuesday it will freeze all salaries as well as promotion increases, and partially cut annual bonuses for the senior management team. Temasek also asked senior management to take a voluntary pay cut for up to a year.

Separately, SATS has on 19 February implemented a series of cost-saving measures such as a 10 per cent pay cut for the management team, a company spokesperson told Yahoo Finance Singapore. Workers aged 55 and above were given the option of voluntary early retirement, and staff can also request to go on voluntary unpaid leave and their jobs wouldn’t be replaced, the spokesman added.

“The COVID-19 epidemic has caused a sharp decline in passenger and cargo volumes across Asia, impacting revenue streams for SATS. We are, therefore, taking proactive steps to mitigate the risks and impact of the situation on our business and our people,” SATS said in a statement.

SATS, SMRT and CapitaLand are among the portfolio companies under Temasek. CapitaLand yesterday said it will implement a pay freeze, saying board members and senior management will take a reduction in their fees and base salaries ranging from 5 to 15 per cent. Singapore Airlines, majority owned by Temasek, has said it will freeze hiring for all ground positions and reduced capacity as demand fell.

As of 26 February, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore was 93, of which 62 have fully recovered.


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