Singapore jails four Chinese bus drivers for going on strike
Singapore court has sentences four Chinese bus drivers to jail terms of up to seven weeks after for instigating the city-state's first strike in nearly three decades
A Singapore court has sentenced four Chinese bus drivers to jail terms of up to seven weeks after they pleaded guilty to instigating the city-state's first strike in nearly three decades.
Liu Xiangying, 33, Gao Yue Qiang, 32 and Wang Xianjie, 39 - all former drivers at state-linked Singapore transport firm SMRT - were each sentenced to six weeks in prison for conspiring on a two-day strike last November.
He Jun Ling, 32, who faced an additional charge of provoking colleagues to stay away from work through an online posting, was jailed for seven weeks.
Another Chinese driver was sentenced to six weeks in jail in December while 29 others were deported without facing trial after the drivers stopped work to protest pay discrimination and poor living conditions.
Judge See Kee Oon said after imposing the jail terms that "the sentence must be of sufficient duration to signal its deterrent intent" even though the strike "may have been motivated by a sense of grievance".
The maximum punishment for staging an illegal strike in Singapore is a jail term of up to a year and a S$2,000 (HK$12,500) fine.
Officials of SMRT admitted after the strike that the drivers had legitimate grievances, including bedbug-infested dormitories, but denied that the Chinese drivers were victims of pay discrimination.
Malaysian and Singapore drivers are paid higher by SMRT but are not hosted in dormitories.
Two of the drivers sentenced yesterday have accused Singapore police officers of assault while they were being held for questioning. Authorities have launched an inquiry into their accusations.