A total of 29 Chinese bus drivers will be deported from Singapore after their work permits were revoked following a rare no-show or strike, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower said on Saturday.
A fifth driver will be charged in court on Monday for his role in the no-show. Four others had been arrested and charged with instigating and inciting an illegal strike on Thursday.
Each of the five drivers faces a charge of instigating an illegal strike, while He Junling, one of the drivers, faces an additional charge of inciting an illegal strike with online message he posted. If convicted, the drivers will face a fine of up to 2,000 Singapore dollars (1,639 U.S. dollars), or maximum imprisonment of 12 months, or both on each charge.
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 no-show earlier this week will be issued warnings.
The drivers working with local public transport operator SMRT took medical leave on Monday in protest against inequitable pay rise and poor living conditions. 88 of them continued to stay away from work on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Manpower said the actions of the drivers " disrupted an essential service and Singapore's industrial harmony. "
"While the SMRT bus drivers may have had grievances, these should have been raised through the legal and proper means available," it said.
SMRT has insisted that the door of communication had remained open but the drivers said they had had no choice as their voices had not been heard.
A senior management of SMRT said she has heard of the grievances of the Chinese workers but had received no written complaint. The chief executive officer of the company was taking a leave overseas and showed up at the workers' dormitory for the first time on Friday, two days after the arrests were made.