Singtel next to freeze wages due to 'weak business sentiment'


Telecommunications company Singtel will reportedly be freezing wages of all staff this year. According to The Straits Times, this comes as part of the telco’s cost-cutting move, but the move will not impact operational and support staff.  Marketing has reached out to Singtel to confirm the wage freeze, and if the marketing department will be impacted. 

The article said staff were informed through a note by group chief executive Chua Sock Koong. As reported by ST, Chua said to staff that the telco faces “weak business sentiment” and has to “brace itself for uncertainty” given the COVID-19 outbreak situation. According to Chua, the telco is facing business and structural challenges, which will only become severe due to the COVID-19 impact on the economy. She said that the telco has to strengthen its financial resilience by removing costs, and look ahead for long-term competitiveness for the overall business. 

In addition, the cost-cutting move comes days after a Singtel employee was tested positive for COVID-19. TODAY reported that the telco had asked employees working on the same level as the COVID-19 victim to work from home for 14 days. 

Among the companies in Singapore that have taken similar cost-cutting measures include Singapore Airlines, CapitaLand and Temasek. Singapore Airlines (SIA) said in a media statement that CEO Goh Choon Phong will take a 15% cut of his pay, while executive vice presidents and senior vice presidents will take pay cuts between 10 and 15%. The national carrier also said it will be implementing a recruitment freeze due to the current COVID-19 situation. SIA is also "aggressively" driving sales, as the virus has led the group to temporarily reduce flight services across its network in response to weak demand. 

Meanwhile, CapitaLand revealed in its financials that board members and senior management will take a cut in their board fee and base salary of between 5% and 15% from April 2020. The real estate company has also imposed a wage freeze for all staff at the managerial level and above. However, CapitaLand said that these cost cutting measures will be reviewed and assessed after six months or when the COVID-19 outbreak has stabilised. 

Temasek also said it implemented a company-wide salary freeze and reportedly said senior management will take a cut in their annual bonuses this year. According to a CNA article, the salary freeze will include promotion increments as well as a 5% voluntary pay cut by senior management heads.

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