Singapore orders deportation of 29 striking Chinese drivers



Beijing: Acting tough, Singapore has ordered the deportation of 29 Chinese bus drivers and charged five others for their role in a rare strike in the city state.

In the first such strike since the 1980s, drivers working with public transport operator SMRT took medical leave on Monday in protest against inequitable pay rise and poor living conditions. Eighty seven other drivers stayed away from work for a second day also.

Singapore ordered the deportation of the Chinese nationals after their work permits were revoked.

While four drivers had been arrested and charged with instigating and inciting an illegal strike on Thursday, a fifth driver will be charged in court on Monday for his role in the strike, Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported quoted Singapore's Manpower Ministry.

"Foreign nationals should abide by the laws of their host countries. Singaporeans who work and live overseas are also expected to do so. Laws must be upheld," Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin told a news conference.

The Ministry of Manpower said the police had substantially completed their investigation and that it did not expect any further arrests to be made "barring any new developments".

The rest of the 171 Chinese drivers who reportedly participated in the strike earlier this week will be issued warnings.

Strikes are illegal in Singapore for workers in "essential services" such as transport unless they give 14 days' prior notice and meet other requirements.

The Chinese embassy said it was "very much concerned" about the arrests and had made consular visits to the drivers, the Xinhua news agency reported.

PTI