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SMRT steps forward

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Exactly one week after the SMRT bus driver strikes, the company’s CEO Desmond Kuek has come forward.

On a visit to the bus drivers’ dormitory at Serangoon last Friday, Kuek admitted the living conditions “could certainly be better”, adding the company is looking at feedback on how to improve the situation.

SMRT has said alternative housing arrangements will be arranged should the living conditions not improve, Channel News Asia reported. SMRT also announced last Thursday its bus drivers will be moved into HDB flats once the housing contracts at the dorms expire early next year.

Kuek said the morale of bus drivers are being managed, as many are still “understandably anxious”, TODAY reported. However, he said the drivers he has met with have assured him they will continue to serve passengers.

Four of the drivers involved in the strike have been charged under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. The act states anyone who instigates a strike and incited others to participate in a strike or lock-out would be guilty of an offence.

If convicted, they can be fined up to S$2,000 or jailed 12 months each.

A total of 171 bus drivers from China took part in the strike on Monday, and 88 on Tuesday.

At a press conference last weekend, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said Singapore Chinese embassy has been kept in the loop with the developments.

“This is a serious matter and we have been very deliberate and very measured in our actions. The government has taken into account the roles that the bus drivers played in the illegal strike and the recalcitrance of the bus drivers who participated in the strike on the second day, despite the government’s best efforts to persuade them to abort their plans and return to work,” he said.

The ministry also announced the work permits of 29 of the drivers involved in the strike have been revoked and all of them will be repatriated to China.

More than 150 other drivers have also been dismissed from their jobs, and have been issued warning letters from the Singapore police.

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