About 200 SMRT China drivers are on strike today because of low wages and poor living conditions of the accommodation provided for by SMRT Corporation. The Special Operations Command has been called for and at least 3 riot police vans were at the site.
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.
A SMRT bus driver, or “Bus Captain” as SMRT called them, earns a monthly salary between $2400 to $2900 for a 6-day work week with 8 hours shifts. The newly appointed SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek was the former SAF’s Chief of Army, a general who knows zilch about managing a public transport company. Both the SMRT and the PAP Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has been silent on this matter.
Singapore has the highest income inequality in the world but the PAP government refuse to solve the social issue because they believe a meritocratic system is in place. The last bus strike in Singapore happened in 1955. The Internal Security Act outlaws congregation of more than 4 person and it grants the PAP government the right to detain anybody indefinitely. ISA has became an effective tool against the people in Singapore which have seen no strikes from 1975 onwards until today.