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Singapore to Deport 29 Bus Drivers for Illegal Strike

December 01, 2012

Singapore will deport 29 SMRT Corp. bus drivers and charge five others for their roles in the city’s first labor protest since the 1980s.

Those facing charges could be imprisoned for as long as a year for taking part in what was described as an “illegal strike,” according to a statement posted on the government’s website. Four were arrested between Nov. 28 and Nov. 29 and have already been charged, while the fifth will be charged on Dec. 3.

“The strike was planned and premeditated,” according to the statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Manpower. “It disrupted our public transport which is an essential service, and posed a threat to public order.”

More than 170 bus drivers failed to report for duty on Nov. 26, while 88 halted work the following day, SMRT said. The company said the striking workers were from China, while the Singapore government didn’t identify their nationalities today.

Telephone calls to China’s Foreign Ministry and SMRT’s media office went unanswered outside of normal business hours.

China earlier said it was “highly concerned” about the arrest of four of its citizens by the Singapore authorities for their role in the labor protest.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bei Hu in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at

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