by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) Dec 3, 2012
A mainland Chinese bus driver involved in Singapore's first industrial strike in 26 years was jailed for six weeks Monday after he pleaded guilty, state prosecutors said.
Bao Feng Shan, 38, a Chinese national, was charged for his role in the mass action, which the government has described as an illegal strike.
Media reports said Bao was not represented by a lawyer.
"(The driver) pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment," a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Chambers said.
Four other Chinese drivers were charged last week for their involvement in the November 26-27 strike -- the first in Singapore since 1986 -- and were remanded for a week for further investigation.
They will be back in court Thursday.
If found guilty, they could be jailed for up to a year, fined a maximum of Sg$2,000 ($1,640) -- the equivalent of two months' wages -- or both.
Singapore on Sunday deported 29 other drivers who took part in the strike after their work permits were revoked.
The drivers, working for state-linked transport operator SMRT, staged the strike over a salary dispute and to demand better working conditions.
Strikes are illegal in the affluent island-state for workers in "essential services" such as transport unless they give 14 days' prior notice and meet other requirements.
A total of 171 drivers launched the strike November 26 by refusing to report for work and staying in their dormitories, with the number falling to 88 on the second day.
Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said Saturday the workers broke Singapore law, but also chided SMRT for not doing a better job in addressing their grievances.
SMRT has promised to look into the strikers' demands, fumigate their bedbug-infested dormitory rooms, find alternative housing in 2013 and open permanent communication lines with its Chinese workers.
Democracy in the 21st century at TerraDaily.com
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