Tuesday, November 27, 2012

First Strike

Lessons imported from China: Protest 101
First, the latest details available on the development. The industrial action began at the crack of dawn when 103 disgruntled SMRT bus drivers congregated illegally at their Woodlands Depot dormitory on Monday at 4 am. Lest we forget, the amended Singapore law determines that one lone standing person can constitute an illegal assembly. They steadfastly refused to board the buses provided by their employer to ferry them to their contractual work obligations. Instead of being arrested for their audacious affront to authority they were merely "given until noon by SMRT to return to work". Another 60 SMRT workers from the Serangoon dormitory arrived to join the picket, which could explain the earlier report of 200 belligerent Chinese nationals on site. The "talks" ended at 6 pm, with no agreement reached. Zorro, with or without mask or cape, was nowhere in sight.

"We're not comparing our salaries with the Singaporeans. We just wanted to be treated fairly like all the other foreigners," was the quote attributed to one of the strikers. One PRC national from Jiangsu Province told Chinese media Zaobao that the bus captains from China are paid less than those from Singapore and Malaysia.

The Straits Times initially reported the story with the heading, "200 SMRT bus drivers refuse to go to work over pay issue". The English word for that descriptive is strike, defined in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary and Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press as "when workers refuse to continue working because of an argument with an employer about working conditions, pay levels or job losses". The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English explains: if a group of workers strike, they stop working as a protest against something relating to their work, for example how much they are paid, bad working conditions.

So why was the "s" word so studiously avoided? Simply put, there are no strikes in Singapore, period. Flooding is also a thing of the past, the politically correct term is "ponding". Both Kishore Mahbubani and Lee Kuan Yew have, on different occasions, boasted to the world that there are no beggars on Singapore streets either. The auntie asking you for a dollar for a packet of tissues is not begging, she's part of the nation's entrepreneurial force, advancing the country's GDP for the better good of all. So long as you are on the Matrix blue pill, housing is affordable and health care is subsidised.

56 comments:

  1. So only Sinkies will be arrested for illegal assembly?
    Singapore laws do not apply to Foreign Talents?
    Now I see the advantages of giving up my Singapore citizenship to work in Singapore.

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  2. Poor Singaporean11/27/2012 9:24 AM

    I'm so happy to hear that the PRC bus drivers are on strike. They have brought nolmacy to our little island. When workers are unhappy they have the right to express it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I too recognise their contribution in this instance.

      They have reminded us that we have testicles and we should use them.
      I never thought I would type this but...

      HURRAH for Ah TIONG!

      Delete
    2. My sympathies are completely with the Chinese drivers. Going by their posted complaints, they appear to have a good case. Their problems reflect the lousy habits and attitudes of Spore employers.

      While some are outraged by the strike, and are blaming the Chinese, the bottom line is it is SMRT's job to ensure smooth running of its business.

      The Chinese are making clear that Sporeans are indeed wimps, simply swallowing any crap thrown at them.

      If something so simple as a strike - where a bunch of pple stand around to make their point - can throw the authorities off balance, what will happen when there are emergencies? This country has run too long on auto pilot, with too many being treated like robots instead of real pple.

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    3. "While some are outraged by the strike, and are blaming the Chinese,..."

      See how much we have been conditioned to believe any strike action is wrong and illegal, and not acceptable even if the issues at hand are genuine and workers are being exploited.

      Just as well these Chinese workers are not union members. NTUC to act on their behalf? When the sun rises from the west!

      Delete
  3. Why were they not arrested on the spot and thrown into detention? Different rules for foreigners? Are the MIWs not aware that the overwhelming foreign hordes might pose an internal security problem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please remember that these people are from China. Do you think PAP dare to take actions against the Chinese? Dream on...

      Delete
  4. love it when the GRAND plan backfires.......

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  5. The best part of it must be they don't even dare to call it a strike. If it is a strike under our laws, the police will have no choice but to throw everyone of them into jail, isn't it ?

    The next biggest joke is that our public listed SMRT is having 3 different salary tiers for doing the same type of work depending ie Singapore, Malaysian or PRC. Which also means they will again be discriminated when it's bonus time, isn't it ?

    To put it in another way, isn't this a very clear example how foreign workers are being manipulated so that we Singapore ones cannot ask for a more equitable pay ?

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    Replies
    1. These foreign workers are not being manipulated. They are mistreated and abused. Have you seen their living conditions?

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    2. Agreed it can be mistreatment or abuse especially from the workers' point of view. But from our govt's position, it is a kind of manipulation so that overall wages will be suppressed whether directly or indirectly.

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    3. When i first read ST report that say "workers refuse to go to work"..i thought a group of them didn't get off from their bed..simply sleep in and decide not to go to work.." then I realize is STRIKE lor...

      Wah lau...liddat also cannot say...now when they choose to say it is called "illegal strike"...alamak..Tan Chuan Jin..no where around the world (except in Sinkapore) is a strike an 'illegal" ...until the leegime makes it so...why not think for a second...whether your SMRT is treating these people 'legally' right or decent to begin with...

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  6. This incident is more important than most people recogninize. It reveals what is fundamnetally wrong with our system of governance, the result of one man`s insatiable urge to control everything and everyone.Emasculated unions, with the top officials in government, including Ministerial offices creating a conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest situations are everywhere and do not matter unless you are Ng Boon Gay.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If I say there is in Singapore, then there is no "strike", OK?

    If I say so-and-so is unworthy to be an MP, then he is unworthy OK? Its a "character" issue!

    If I say it is "corruption", then it is corruption OK? With this kind of attitude, no wonder the prosecution looks like a fool in the court over the last few weeks!!

    With this kind of leaders, no wonder Singapore ...

    And we're still having a "national conversation"???

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  8. Yes, the bigger issue is one of conflict of interest.
    MOM allowing discriminatory wage practices,
    NTUC closing both eyes, saying it is none of its business,
    MOM allowing cheap foreign hordes to flood our shores, suppressing Singaporean pay and making many out of job.
    TH having a stranglehold ownership of these "privatised" companies, ensuring profits.
    Government transferring $1.2 billion taxpayers' money to these companies.
    MPs being directors and shareholders of these companies.
    ...

    The list goes on. Yet Singaporeans fail to see...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad that there are others like you who recognize the deeper problems. However, I would like to list some of the more important ones. Scratching each others` backs, loss of vitality, turning a blind eye to iniquities. Tommy Koh bemoaned the small pool of people "available" for appointment to boards of companies. Being a diplomat, he did not tell you why the pool is small. The list goes on, as they say.

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    2. TH and GIC basically resort to squeezing labor for their bottom lines. Without these "cheap" workers, Singaporean or foreign, the two entities would not have survived in the competitive market.

      The follow-up question is, where has the profit gone? (Hint: ask Balding)

      Delete
  9. Isn't it kind of funny? The PRC ones complain they are getting less than the Malaysian ones but not those Singapore ones meh? Then the Malaysian ones complained they are paid less than their Singapore counterparts.

    I think this type of problems, only the papa can solve them .... Either jail them or cancel their PR, what do you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do not give red herring. Since when the malaysians ever complain they are paid less than Singaporeans ? Can you give a reliable source to substantiate them ? Or just because your malaysian complains to you before that you have harboured such thought ?

      These china workers know that it is ok for the local to have higher pay. It is only that there is discrimination against foreign workers of different nation that they are angry about. Even the ShittyMedia broadcast that.

      Delete
  10. Flooding become "ponding"
    Strikes become "refused to work"

    What the hell is going on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Authoritarian became "democracy"
      Nepotism became "meritocracy"

      Only in Singapore...

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    2. and don't forget that Singapore's Swiss standard of living means a couple slaving 30 years for the pigeon-hole-in-the sky.

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    3. It is the New English in Singapore. New English Grammar if you have not read or heard being used by the AGC/MAS all these while when interpreting the Constitution of ours.

      Nearly, wanted to tear up my Senior Cambridge Cert which showed that I did not too badly for English Language and English Literature!
      The professors back then,must have made a mistake on my papers.

      Delete
  11. The PAPies created the problem.
    Let them solve the problem.
    We focus on gathering more votes for the Opposition.
    GE 2016.
    Only the votes matter.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You folks are not expecting a "whipping crackdown" for our PRC friends are you? Dream on! soon they'll have the aircraft carrier off the Malacca Straits and our F15s will be "on detachment" to some far away rsort in Colorado to spend more of that billion dollar Mindef budget. A face off will not happne, not in LKY land. So how? The solution is of course, another $1.1b transfer from taxpayers to these TH "public transport" companies. That's right, your tax money, "govt subsidies" :)

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  13. The auntie asking you for a dollar for a packet of tissues is not begging, she's part of the nation's entrepreneurial force, advancing the country's GDP for the better good of all. So long as you are on the Matrix blue pill, housing is affordable and health care is subsidised.

    above says is it all

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  14. Some foreigners are brought up not to fear the authority but to strike fear in them. With almost 1 million PRCs in Singapore, it is more likely that the PAP government will be overthrown by the foreigners which they welcomed with open arms during an uprising than by Singaporeans in the poll. Soon, the best option for Singaporeans is to divest everything here and migrate to a genuine first world country. Why bother about a country that has gone to the dogs?

    The controlled media are equally guilty of escalating the decline of the country by their under-reporting, selective reporting and sometimes, blatant fabrications. A strike by the PRC's bus drivers has revealed many hairline cracks in the way this country is governed. First and foremost, as much as the foreigner's policy can stimulate economic growth, it is also a precursor to an economic disaster. A massive strike by the foreigners can bring our economy to the knee as it is now over-reliant on them. The nation is now under their mercy. Second, the event again highlighted depressed salary of fellow Singaporeans' drivers whom have lost their voices to protest under the oppressive government. Third, the greedy GICs which enjoy monopoly and guaranteed business and emergency funding from the government, but yet deliver sub-par service standard and poor employee's benefits whilst heaping rewards and bonuses on the management. With all these visible ugly cracks, the media have the cheek to brush off the event as a simple protest and not strike. This is a new low.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did Ong Ye Kung resign from NTUC & SMRT to join private sector?
      Just like BG Yeo?
      Going with the flow?
      Is the flow moving away from PAP and NTUC?

      TEO - what do you think?

      Delete
    2. As I said, no chance of PAP downfall - PAP will just take more of your taxpayer and CPF monies and give it to PRC strikers, "bribe" them if you will. The only sufferers will be you, who will just join the 70 year old beggars selling ever thinner plies of tissue at MRT stations. It has always worked this way with the papies, screw the weaklings who dare not stand up, kowtow to those foreigners who dare to stand up to them. Why did you think they go the new (longkang) water way? Because Mahathir said fu lee, shaft your legal rights down yr behind! Why did they buy the 30 yr old F15? because unca sam commanded : give me your money lee.

      Delete
  15. As a true local Singaporean, I feel ashamed of my own country. Strike is not strike. It's industrial incident. Flooding is ponding. We got no beggars or homeless on our streets? It is better to be poor here than elsewhere. My heart bypass costs me $8.00 only! What high medical costs you talking. Yup go JB nursery home to die! Why can't they call a spade a spade instead of all these wayang? Who are they bluffing? You think we are idiots? KNN!

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  16. It will reached a critical mass...or a point of no return...

    I wonder if those who are responsible for creating the mess will get scot free...leaving the rest of us to pay for their mistakes or selfish greed...

    Are we gonna let them run scot free so easily then?

    Or made them pay and pay...as they made us pay and pay for so long to them...

    This one we dun need some loser scholar who can only thrive in pap controlled singapore from the prime minister office to tell us "what do you think?"....we don't need to think that...we just need to do...thanks to their idiocy for pushing us to the brink and beyond...

    We never ask for this...they made us into these then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But you voted for PAP right?

      Delete
  17. Haha, what will happen if smrt train drivers oso decide to stop work together?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It just means they all decided to take vacation at the same time.
      Does not mean they strike.

      Delete
  18. Jialat, PAP has created a monster problem for themselves until they even have to bring in the riot police. So what's next, jail or don't jail them ?

    Don't jail them means all along Singaporeans treated like shit. Jail them more unhappiness among the bus drivers.

    SMRT says Malaysian bus drivers paid more because have to travel across the causeway. But what about those PRC bus drivers who are already PRs ? Treated like Singaporeans ?

    It's simply unbecoming for a GLC to exploit certain category of workers to maximise profits when the work they are doing is the basically the same. So how, jail them or not, PAP ?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Why huh?
    How come the PRC Drivers are salaried lower than the Malaysian Drivers.
    PRC Drivers skill lower?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you speak eng/chinese, malay/indian, dialects..you get A grade salary
      you speak eng, malay/indian...you get B grade salary
      you speak chinese only....you get C grade salary lah..

      meritocracy..according to your language skills..especially in a public service environment for multi-racial society...correct or not...

      plus how many accidents have they caused already so far...?

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    2. Bus drivers are in the job of driving buses not talking and telling stories to commuters so where is there the need to grade pay to ablility to speak languagues??
      As for accidents, I have encountered more Sinkie bad impatient drivers than foreign ones.
      So please get facts right before shooting you mount.

      Delete
  20. I think it's time SMRT and gahmen have a NatCON with the PRC drivers.
    TEO - What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  21. //Padaly @ 11/27/2012 3:44pm//

    You don't have a pig head, that's why you see everything differently - you see flooding, beggars, strikes, illegal assemblies etc. Go and take your Matrix blue pills as Tattler recommended. Voila, you see things more clearly - everything is affordable, no strikes, no floods, no nothing...all hunky-dory.

    You see, taking the Matrix blue pill is like riding into a pig's world. In a pig's world, everybody (and everything) is equal, but some are more equal than others! Those more equal are more advantaged, the less equal are the less advantaged, not beggars. More water is more ponding, less water is less ponding - where got flood, where got problem? HDB flats more affordable, less affordable...but everything still affordable.

    And so on....as long as everybody knows his place in the order, there is no problem. Know and accept where you stand, because that determines your perception, and how you will be treated. In a pig's world.

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  22. Ohhh! now I get it!

    Salaries are based on distance between home and work.
    I had always believed that it was based on skills and meritocracy!

    So the Ang Moh FT is paid more not because of skill but the distance from his home town! No wonder that ang moh from Houston gets more money than everyone else!

    Hmmm.. maybe I should buy property in Aussie...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By golly, I think you got it. You gotta change your perception, in a pig's world.

      Delete
  23. China nationals are importing their 'protest' culture to Singapore eg. Wukan in Guangdong province. Wikipedia cited:

    The Protests of Wukan, also known as the Siege of Wukan, was an anti-corruption protest that began in September 2011, and escalated in December 2011 with the expulsion of officials by villagers, the siege of the town by police, and subsequent d├ętente[5] in the southern Chinese village of Wukan

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    1. Round them up and send them back to PRC to strike to their hearts' content. Don't rock the boat here. Not in Singapore.

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    2. Actually, they should stay...is the Sinkies that should learn from them..when it comes to protest spirits, guts and skills...

      Delete
    3. I dont see it as skills or guts. Simply hooliganism. They have become more gungho in their protests & strikes eg. Foxcom - committing suicide, hospital - killing doctors and making brawls (placing coffins, wailing wearing funeral clothes) within the hospital, vandalizing Japanese car factories and restaurant & the list goes on. Image Singapore besieged by such horrific behaviour! No thank - acceptable in China not here please.

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    4. 9;02pm, where is your emotion huh?...misplaced or suppressed or long forgotten....no wonder we top of that chart..

      Delete
  24. This is what happens when our PAP Govt gets involved in so many money making companies. Some minor wage dispute at company level will now get magnified to become a national issue. And all the dirty linen is now exposed for everyone to see.

    WTF, PAP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my 30+ years, I've never heard of a walk out (SIA pilots strike is another issue altogether). A blemish on our govt's face. Ought to use measures stronger than Oxy 10 to clean it up:-)

      Delete
    2. When SIA pilots threatened to strike in 2003, this was what Lee Hsien Loong, the then DPM, said:
      "The pilots, the leaders of this group, have to think carefully, do they really want to take on the government?...I don't want to do you in, but I don't want anybody to do Singapore in."

      So remember, if you want to "strike", don't do it at a Government linked company.

      Delete
  25. Oh! come on guys!(gals too!)

    Let the Chinese play here.. they add a different perspective to many things. Remember our multi-racial, multi-cultural ethos??

    They are showing us how spurs can be stuck into hides..

    Dont be party poopers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like the PRC are sticking spurs into the old man's political descendents.

      Jia You!

      Delete
  26. Hullooo, this is not the first "strike" by foreign workers in recent times. By it involves a Temasek Holdings company.

    "29-30 March 2005, 300 Indian and Bangladeshi migrant workers, employed by Ta-Ching Marine Technology, were on sit-in strike at the GoldStrong Dormitory"

    "...about 200 foreign workers, mostly from Bangladesh, downed tools when arriving at work on Monday, complaining that they had not been paid since November 2011."

    The moral of the story: Shit happens when you open the floodgates!

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  27. How about work-to-rule? or a go slow labour action?

    Does it qualify as a "strike"?

    As I recall, SQ pilots did not plan a "strike" but a work-to-rules action, meaning they will follow procedures to the letter of the manual, sops and the likes.

    Most of us work using initiatives to expedite and bring results. We all know how onerous procedures and manuals can be. Imagine trying to execute a forex trade following rules and procedures as written in company rule books.

    Finally, we have a test pen incident to gauge our policies and how it plays out. So far, it does not seem to be as elegant as touted, with riot police around.

    What happened to "commercial decisions"?

    Using big stick and threats are signs of incompetence. Ah beng qualities... not ivy league material is it?

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  28. SIA pilots follow procedure but yet their chief negotiator & his family have to suffer the consequences with his PR cancelled. Our Minister insists that everyone must follow the law. Let see whether they are going to jail these bus drivers. How do you think the PRC nationals will react when their compatriots are being bullied and treated like shit?

    Do our PAP leaders still think they can bully anyone nowadays just like what the old man has done in the past?

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  29. Looking at the reasons for the strike, the Chinese are just asking for equitable pay to the foreigners employed. I don't see anything wrong with that? The fact is that SMRT has chosen to hire Chinese. It is to make up for shortfall in manpower. So I am unable to fathom why SMRT can choose to have different wage bands for Chinese and other foreigners. You want to hire foreign workers be prepared to house them or pay them allowance in accordance with the laws. How can you different pay bands for the same type of work? Pay should be based on the responsibility carried with each job not by where you're from!

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