Singapore will deport 29 mainland Chinese bus drivers and prosecute five others for taking part in the city-state’s first strike since the 1980s, the government said on Saturday.
The Ministry of Manpower said in a statement that 29 drivers’ work permits had been revoked and immigration officials “will be repatriating them” for involvement in a two-day stoppage to demand better pay and working conditions.
“The strike was planned and premeditated. It disrupted our public transport which is an essential service, and posed a threat to public order,” the statement said.
A fifth driver has been arrested and will be charged in addition to four others who have been brought to court for allegedly instigating the November 26-27 work stoppage at state-linked transport firm SMRT.
If found guilty of involvement in an illegal strike, they could be jailed for up to a year or fined a maximum of S$2,000 (US$1,600) – the equivalent of two months’ wages for a driver.
Strikes are illegal in Singapore for workers in “essential services” such as transport unless they give 14 days’ prior notice and comply with other requirements.