Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Need For The Police

102 SMRT bus drivers from China failed to show up for their work yesterday due to a labor dispute with the company. The drivers were protesting the disparity in salary between them and other foreign bus captains. Today, around 60 of the drivers also failed to report for work. 

Frankly, I’m not surprised it happened. The main reason Singapore accept so many foreign workers is because of the lower pay they are willing to accept. Companies are doing all they can to squeeze the workers to make them work more hours for less pay, and it was always a matter of time before dispute like this happen. It had happened before (remember when some foreign workers gathered outside Parliament) and it will happen again (unless Singapore companies change their practices).

However that is not what I want to comment on. Now I can understand where both sides are coming from (workers wanting better pay, companies wanting to pay less), but what I don’t understand is the over-reaction by the security forces yesterday. Reports had the police deploying several crowd control vehicles including four special operations command vehicles to the area.

Why? From all reports I read, this was a simple dispute between the two parties and negotiations were done quietly between the parties involved. There was no trouble and there was never even a hint of trouble from the start to the finish. Yet special operation was activated.

For what? I mean 102 workers refused to go to work and the police felt a need to send out 4 special operation command vehicles? I just can’t help but shake my head at this. There is no need to activate the special operations, especially when there wasn’t even a public protest by the workers. Let the SMRT and the workers handled the issue (quietly). The over-reaction by the police was unnecessary. 


Anonymous said...

Proportional representation of force.
When SDP held a 4 man protest in front of the CPF, they sent 1 truck and few police cars.
So 102 men will need at least 4 trucks.
Singapore Govt can only govern with high penalties and intimidation.
They can't solve the littering problem so what they do?
Install more cameras and increase the fines.
This is not thinking out of box to solve problems but within it

Anonymous said...

Can anyone forget even a harmless toy protest needed few red linens monitoring.

Anyone knows what happens to those toys now ? Did they get detain without trial in some secretive place ?


Talking about paranoid state.

You ask where is the sense of proportion ?

Ghost said...

I think it's more than a sense of proportion. The main problem is that when you call in the police, you invite problems for yourself as the case will become bigger. If the police were never called, the company can talk it out quietly with the drivers. Now the Chinese Embassy is involved and that's bad for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Even if the police were called in, the MHA should have ssessed the situation.Was there violence, people getting hurt and properties damaaged??
If it hadn't been reported, nobody would even noticed.
To send 4 anti-riot reddies is a signal of itimidation.
I can see only a group of people gathering @ their lodgings chitchatting. What's the threat??
Oh I forgot, a one man sit in constitues illegal assembly.
No wonder we market ourselves as a uniguely country,

Ghost said...

If it was meant to be intimidation, then it didn't work. The strike was not cancelled and worse, the situation got bigger because of the police. Frankly, I think it's more of a case of Singaporean kaisuism than intimidation.