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
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
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.