Singapore jails bus drivers over strike

A Singapore court has sentenced four Chinese immigrant bus drivers to up to seven weeks in prison for instigating the city-state's first strike in 26 years, said on February 25.

Three of the men were sentenced to six weeks' jail. A fourth faced an extra charge of publicising the strike online and received a seven week sentence. Another driver was jailed for six weeks in December.

In the November 26-27 strike, 171 Chinese drivers protested over being paid nearly a quarter less than their Malaysian colleagues. Judge See Kee Oon said the sentences needed to be long enough “to ensure that others are not emboldened toward attempting similar displays of dissatisfaction over employment terms or conditions”.

Police are investigating allegations by two of the drivers that officers assaulted them while they were in custody.

Walking off the job in protest is almost unheard of in Singapore, which requires essential service workers to give 14 days' notice of strike.