Singapore deports 29 Chinese bus drivers
Singapore: Singapore on Sunday deported 29 Chinese nationals for taking part in a bus drivers` strike earlier this week and for breaking the local laws.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs confirms that all 29 former SMRT bus drivers have been repatriated to their home country. They were placed on flights," a government statement said.
The 29 were part of the 171 drivers who had refused to drive public buses while employed here on work permit and under contract.
The drivers held a two-day strike, alleging pay discrepancies with those employed from Malaysia.
Each Chinese driver was paid SGD1,075 plus lodging on a contract basis while a Malaysian driver was paid SGD1,400.
The Chinese drivers were also disgruntled at dormitory conditions and had complained about about bed bugs.
Labour-short Singapore has hired over 1,000 drivers from China to drive the public buses.
Meanwhile, one of the bus driver, also from China, would be charged in court tomorrow under the anti-strike law.
Four others were charged last Thursday for inciting the strike on November 26 and 27.
Strike is illegal under Singapore law and any one found guilty would face a fine of SGD2,000 or a jail term of two years or both.
Over 150 other drivers, also from China, were let off with warning letters for having participated in the strike, the first to be seen in 26 years.
The drivers were employed by SMRT - the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit - company which operates local subway and public bus services.
The government said the bus drivers` action had hit an essential service of the city state and condemned it as illegal strike, the first since 1986.
Singapore depends on hundreds of thousands foreign workers, mostly employed on contract basis.
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