Thursday, November 29, 2012

Allegations That Need To Be Looked Into

Just 2 days after I labeled the reaction of the police an over-reaction, the laughable way the Singapore government is dealing with the strike by Chinese bus drivers has pummeled to new depths. While Brigadier General and Acting Minister of Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin has come out to defend the reasoning why the government had initially refused to call the actions of the bus drivers a strike, there is one thing he seem to be avoid mentioning; how valid are the complains of the Chinese drivers?

The drivers were not only complaining about their poor pay but also their poor living conditions. I read that one driver had said that 8 people were living in a room and there were rats in their dormitory. All these in a dormitory provided by SMRT which is owned by Temasek Holdings!

I personally like to know it this is true and if the answer is yes, what actions will the Singapore government take. Frankly if the allegations are true, I would consider it nothing less than a national embarrassment. This is not some small fly-the-night SMEs; this is SMRT; this is Temasek Holdings; and they are providing housing with rats and bedbugs and are stuffing 8 persons to a room?

Now I know the SMRT is into making profits. I understand that the Chinese bus drivers are not union members. I can even accept that the rights and interests of workers in Singapore are treated as bad jokes here in Singapore. However even in Singapore, surely a government-linked company like SMRT can do better that this!

I mean if a GLC can exploit foreign workers like this, how much worse would it be for smaller companies further down the food chain? If the allegations are true, then it is disgraceful for Singapore and all Singaporeans. And actions need to be take not against the Chinese drivers, but against the management of SMRT.


Anonymous said...

You are right that if the complaints are valid the it would be a disgrace to Singaporeans.But is that all to it? The explotation of foreign workers have seriour ramifications for Singaporean workers. They have to work "fasterer, betterer, and cheaperer" as one clown put it.Was there not a report that employers frown on local workers keeping woring hours and taking holidays?

Anonymous said...

The reports I've read say it is 10 to a room...

Eight to an HDB room is not uncommon these days, and will be the norm no doubt with the hike in property tax.

There is also news this week of two families - at least = sharing a 3 rm rental flat.

Who said that Spore does not have slums any more? Slums here are alive and thriving!!

Ghost said...

Funny thing is the police now arrested 4 of the drivers; on the same day SMRT admit that the living conditions of the drivers were terrible! Talk about one foot forward, one foot back.

Anonymous said...

And yet under our Ministry of Manpower rules & regulations, it is mandatory for Employers to provide proper accomodation reasonably fit for their workers' general health being and welfare or otherwise they can be prosecuted.

So is it not a joke that a GLC is setting a fine example here of breaking our own laws and regulations ?

Ghost said...

The problem is the word "proper". Legally, that word can mean a lot of things.

Anonymous said...


It takes an incident like this to get people to ask questions?

There is lots of evidence of this if one looks and observes, asks questions. The natural kay poh attitude seems narrow only to the Evrit road neighbour squabbles.

Your post suggests that many do not believe that this sort of things have been going on for decades among employers big or small.

It shows the level of trust towards our media. We should not be so trusting. Particularly in this age of internet.

Yes, they do not fabricate but I assure you, vital and pertinent information has been intentionally left out.

Ghost said...

For Singaporeans asking question? It's a case of "out of sight, out of mind". However the poor treatment of workers is kind of expected here in Singapore. The main case here is that the company in question is SMRT. For better or worse, Singaporeans expect better from the GLCs.