Yesterday, 102 SMRT bus drivers from China staged a *wage protest* over unfair wages and unsatisfactory living conditions. Today, 60 of the 102 did not turn up for work.

A wage protest of that size is very rare in Singapore. The last wage protest, sorry, strike in Singapore was in Jan2, 1986.

In Singapore, it is officially a strike if the members of the union vote unanimously to do a walk-out. Without this official vote, it is not a strike.

So the unions are coming out to communicate their views on the incident.

However, it seems like NTUC, the National Trade Unions Confederation that confederates all the unions in Singapore, and the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) gave conflicting comments on how these bus drivers could have address the issue more amicably.

It was reported that "NTUC director of the Unit for Contract and Casual Workers (UCCW), Mr Zainal Sapari criticised the workers for not adhering proper procedures and acting without the knowledge of the National Transport Workers' Union".

So the workers were supposed to go and inform the National Transport Workers' Union.

But the National Transport Workers' Union issued a statement stating otherwise.

"The National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) has issued a press statement on the SMRT bus drivers' dispute. The union said that it does not have the legal mandate to represent the PRC bus workers of SMRT as they are not union members."

So what other alternatives did these bus drivers have to address their wage concern but to hold a wage protest?


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