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Monday, November 26, 2012

Interesting news of the day... from Shin Min Daily News

200 bus drivers from SMRT went on strike at Woodlands area as they were unhappy about how SMRT treated them. From the small column on the right...apparently the Bus Drivers are from China.

The Riot Police were also activated.. shall update when more news are available!

As seen on:

(2012-11-26 1420)

Translation: Unsatisfied with their salary and living conditions of their accomodation, 100 + SMRT Bus Captains who originated from China applied for Sick Leave and refused to start work today.


Translation: According to one of the Bus Captains, the people who applied for Sick Leave today are mainly from Kranji and Woodlands bus routes but later on, some of the bus captains from the Ang Mo Kio bus route also decided to join in. Right now, they are unable to determine how many people are involved in this "strike".


Translation: The Bus Captains are now gathering in their Woodlands Staff Quarters and SMRT people are currently engaged in discussions with them. There is no disorder or unruly behaviour for now as observed by the reporter.

来自江苏王姓车长(36岁)告诉记者, 中国籍车长的基本薪水本来就比新加坡和马来西亚籍司机低,加上自从五天制改成六天制后,他们几乎没有什么加班的机会。以前一个月包括加班可赚2000多 元,现在只有1400元左右。他们也对宿舍环境差和请病假必须扣薪水的做法表示不满。

Translation: A bus captain from Jiang Su (36 years of age) revealed to the reporter that originally, the Bus Captains from China already have lower pay than those from Singapore and Malaysia. Furthermore, after their official working days were changed to 6 working days instead of 5, they now have even lesser chance to earn Overtime ("OT") pay. In the past, they could still manage to earn 2000 over Singapore dollars but now only around 1400 Singapore dollars. The living conditions are also bad and if they do apply for Sick Leave, their salary will be docked. These are also part of the main reasons why they are unhappy with the SMRT Management besides the salary issue.

Below is from:

About 200 SMRT bus drivers refused to go to work early Monday morning and instead assembled at their dormitory in Woodlands.

The drivers, who are Chinese nationals, were unhappy about the recent pay increase that Malaysian drivers had received, reported Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News.
Malaysian drivers got a $275 increment and a month's bonus, while Chinese nationals were paid $75 extra without any bonus.

An SMRT human resource executive was called in to resolve the dispute but when the discussion came to a standstill, police with their riot vans were called.

Timeline :

Read more here:


SMRT共有中国司机400人左右 几乎占了本公司一线司机的三分之一 而令人啼笑皆非的此公司 凡事都是中国人除外

   多年来唯独没有中国职工的年度花红 十三薪  底薪比其它国人少的很多不说 上次政府加薪 你们虽然给加了$50不错 但是也同时加大了工作量 每天强制检查车 加油 加水 洗车 还不算 以前的福利同时取消转换另类说法  请问你这是真的加薪还是加辛 此举怎像是小摊老板所为!

此次11月23号加薪是因为周工作5天改6天后 弥补司机的损失 又是唯独没有中国司机的  你们也是中途强制给我们实施的转周六天制度 连通知我们都没有 为什么就单单不补中国人 再说你们承诺我们的都当饭吃忘记了 就是忘记了不是还有合同啊 为什么中途强制实施 你们只知道我们是中国人了 却忽视了我们也是MRT的一份子也是每日奔波在新加坡大地为广大群体服务中的一员  再说此工作让我们住集体十几人的大宿舍 早 晚 分班的不分 能休息好吗?  你们这是为了你的员工身心健康呢 还是为了新加坡大众的安全?每天要0车祸 优质服务 就凭你们这样招到你的一线三分之一的客工  哈哈 俺觉得像是天方夜谭!

Translation: SMRT has a total of about 400 Bus Drivers coming from China which is about 1/3 of their total staff strength for Bus Drivers.

For many years, excluding the 13th month bonus which you are only entitled to after working for a min. of 12 months, China Staff salaries have been a lot lower than staff from other countries. The last increment of $50 SGD was still considered reasonable but at the same time, the company also increased the workload of the bus drivers by multiple fold. Everyday, the buses have to be inspected in perfect condition and it seems that instead of a pay increment, they are using the extra $50 as an excuse to increase workload that is worth a lot more than the $50 SGD. This is exactly like the behaviour of a boss for a small store and not of a big company/organization.

Although, there is an increment of Salary beginning from Nov 23rd to make up for the extension of official working days from 5 to 6 working days but however, the China staffs are once again excluded from this increment and this extension is "forced" on them with no advance notification or additional information provided. Why are only China Staffs excluded from this increment? The earlier promises that were made to the China Staffs have been forgotten and we are now only seen as Staff from China but not as a part of SMRT. Even if SMRT have forgotten the promises made but there is still the contract we signed, why is this extension of an additional working day enforced mid-way into our contract? We are also a part of SMRT staff who are servicing the Singapore public every day. 

Furthermore, we are all grouped into a room with 10 over people and are not living together with people who are working the same morning/night working shifts, hence we are always not able to have a good rest with people always going in and out of the room. Without proper rest, this will not only affect our health but also public safety.

You have high expectations of us with '0' accidents and to be the provider of excellent service but with such living conditions and salary, such expectations are only a fairy tale and not realistic at all!

Translations were done in a rush so please forgive if there are any mistakes ! :)

Alternative Translation by Johnathan Chew:

There are about 400 PRC bus captains in SMRT, making up 1/3 of the driver force. It is ludicrous that PRC drivers have always been discriminated by the company. All these years, PRC drivers are not entitled to the 13th month bonus and their base salary is lower than drivers of other nationalities. Although they are given a S$50 increment recently,
the workload has also increased significantly - mandatory maintenance check, top up engine oil, top up coolant, washing of buses. On top of that, some of the welfare benefits were taken away. Is this an increment in pay or hardship? SMRT is behaving like a small time transport operator by doing so. On 23 Nov, there is another round of pay increment to compensate the changing from a 5-day to a 6-day work week. This is clearly a change in our contract agreement and yet, we are not even informed and compensated accordingly. SMRT only treat us as PRC, but never value us as part of the company, part of the crew that drives around Singapore daily to serve the public. Furthermore, when putting us up in a dormitory of 10 over drivers, there is no separation of day and night shifts and we are deprived of proper rest. SMRT is neglecting our health and also the safety of the general public. By treating 1/3 of your drivers in this manner, you still want to have 0 accident and service excellence? Dream on.

Conclusion to Yesterday at around 6pm : Four vehicles from the Police's Special Operations Command were seen leaving the Woodlands dormitory 5 mins ago. About 50 drivers from the Serangoon dormitory have left the Woodlands dormitory. Negotiations were peaceful, according to a driver who has been working for 8 months. Drivers have been told to give management a week to look at the problem. Bus captains from the Serangoon dorm say they will resume work tomorrow.

Continuation of Yesterday:

60 bus drivers did not turn up for work today
SINGAPORE - 60 bus drivers did not turn up for work today and some bus services may be affected as a result.

As seen from:
Bringing the doctor to the patient: SMRT sent a mobile clinic to more than 60 PRC bus drivers who mass reported sick today.

SINGAPORE - SMRT has issued the following statement on the bus drivers who were absent from work today:

On 26 November 2012, 171 Service Leaders from China did not report for duty. At a dialogue with the Service Leaders yesterday, SMRT assured the Service Leaders it will look into their concerns, while the Service Leaders agreed to return to work the next day.

However, despite the agreement, 68 and 20 of the SLs who were on the morning and afternoon shift respectively did not show up for work today.

SMRT Management takes a serious view of the bus service delays that were brought about by the irresponsible behavior of the Service Leaders (SLs) who did not report for work as scheduled.

SMRT's priority is to ensure that bus services are restored to normal as soon as possible.

In accordance with our obligation as a Public Transport Operator, SMRT has lodged a police report for further investigation into possible breaches of the law. At the same time, the company is conducting its own investigations on whether terms of employment have been breached.

Final Update:
UPDATE on Wed 28/11: All but six bus drivers from China reported to work on Wednesday, said an SMRT spokesperson.

While bus captains from China do work the same hours as drivers of other nationalities, it's fair that they are paid less because they get transportation and housing, say some SMRT bus drivers.

Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore on an anonymous basis on Tuesday, several Singaporean and Malaysian bus drivers in general voiced this sentiment in the wake of Monday’s full-day Chinese bus drivers’ strike.

SMRT has acknowledged the poor living conditions at bus drivers' dorms in Woodlands and said it was taking swift action to improve them.

[UPDATE on 3 Dec 2012: Fifth bus driver sentenced to six weeks' jail, 29 drivers deported on Sunday] 

Those charged -- He Jun Ling, 32; Gao Yue Qiang, 32; Weng Xianjie, 39; and Liu Xiangying, 33 -- had been arrested by police over Wednesday and Thursday. If convicted, they -- along with the fifth driver -- will face a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both on each charge.

Seen as the ringleaders, Gao, Weng and Liu each face one count while He faces two counts of inciting SMRT workmen on Sunday evening at Block 21 Woodlands Sector 1 to take part in the strike, which started the day after.

Regarding the recent charges against five bus drivers and the deportation of another 29, Kuek said SMRT did not expect further arrests or repatriations related to the strike.

“You will be allowed to remain and work in Singapore, so long as you continue to abide by our laws. We expect all of you to continue to uphold the terms of your contract as these were agreed upon by you knowingly and willingly,” he asserted.

SMRT’s compensatory efforts have since comprised the setting up of a 24-hour hotline, the planned election of local representatives, regular townhall meetings and steps to improve living conditions, one of the drivers’ key complaints during their strike.

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