Bus drivers file lawsuits against SBS Transit over wage dispute

Five bus drivers have filed separate lawsuits against public transport operator SBS Transit Ltd over a wage dispute concerning overtime pay.

In a writ of summons filed by lawyer M Ravi last Fri (20 Sep) and seen by TOC today (23 Sep), the bus drivers, who have been working for SBS Transit between three years to a decade, alleged that the company has “breached the term of the contract on overtime pay and have underpaid the clients”.

The above claim was made based on the discrepancy between the drivers’ working hour records and the monthly pay slips they had received from SBS Transit, which were below the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s regulated pay rate, the document read.

According to law firm Carson Law Chambers today, their lawyer M Ravi argued that the aforementioned lawsuit is significant, as the immediate case is “the first wage dispute case of its kind involving Singapore’s bus operator”.

The ruling will not only affect Carson Law Chambers’ immediate clients in this case, but also thousands of other SBS transit drivers, as “[m]any have worked loyally and diligently for **several years* and back-pay”, said the firm.

M Ravi added that the possibility of a breach of MOM’s regulated pay rate needs to be examined in the immediate case, and that any “statutory sanctions”, if available, should be looked into accordingly.

Additionally, the suit will potentially delve into the “extent of various Employment Act breaches that may have occurred with regards rest days and overtime pay in the Contracts of Employment”, according to M Ravi.

A statement of claim was also filed last Fri, in which it was stressed that four of the bus drivers had already “commenced similar suits” against SBS Transit in the Magistrates Court previously, but were told to “wait for the decision” regarding their claim and report against the company.

“However, both the claim and report were ignored despite attending two (2) meetings with the National Transport Workers’ Union (“NTWU”) and ComfortDelGro respectively,” the document read, noting that the meetings took place in Jul and Aug.

The particular plaintiff in the statement of claim had “officially lodged a report to Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM)”, which was then referred to the National Trades Congress Union (NTUC).

However, he did not receive any “conclusive answers” after the meetings and decided to request “an official letter” from SBS Transit detailing the breakdown of his monthly pay in order “to better understand where the Defendants were coming from”.

While SBS Transit purportedly agreed to send such a letter within two days of the bus driver’s request, he did not receive any response from the company, following which he “sent out four (4) chaser emails” to the company.

SBS Transit allegedly replied by “restating their position which is in breach of the contract”, according to the statement of claim.

Among the alleged breaches included, but were not limited to, the following:

  • Expecting the plaintiff to work for “7 consecutive days prior to getting an off day”, which the plaintiff claimed was not what both he and SBS Transit had agreed upon in the Letter of Appointment – thus possibly breaching Section 36 of the Employment Act where an employee should be given a rest day per week, or a rest day after a continuous period of 30 hours if on shift; and
  • Putting the plaintiff in a position where he had worked “beyond 44 hours in a week”, which possibly contravenes Sections 38(1)(a) and 38(1)(b) of the Employment Act whereby an employee should not be required to work either more than 6 consecutive hours without a period of leisure, or more than 8 hours in a day, or more than 44 hours in a week.

SBS Transit Ltd, as the defendant, has eight days from the date the writ of summons was served to respond to the bus drivers’ claims, that is to either satisfy such claims or to enter an appearance and defend itself against the lawsuit.

Updated as of 11.15 p.m.: Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at SBS Transit Tammy Tan told TOC on Mon (23 Sep) in response to queries: “SBS Transit confirms that writs of summons have been served today by Carson Law Chambers on behalf of five of our Bus Captains.

“We are in discussion with our lawyers. We intend to defend against the allegations rigorously,” added Ms Tan.


 * Editorial by The Online Citizen.




17 Responses to “Bus drivers file lawsuits against SBS Transit over wage dispute”

  • Harder Truths:

    Government never lose.

    Regardless we will see some fun since Mr Ravi is going into action.

    GD Star Rating
  • TruBlu:

    IF PAY ACCRUED TO THESE 5 CAPTAINS are not paid,what is there to fight in court?

    if SBS TRANSIT wins the case becos it has got financial clout,then,WHATS THE LAW for?

    nowadays, a lot of crooks are using $$$ to plead innocence even after they have committed serious offences???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    there are many cases of sgs getting bullied and hurt like getting punched by aggressors but the GREAT SPF will tell you the POLICE cannot do anything much unless BLOOD IS SPILLED OR THE victim is half-dead???

    you have to expend energy n even MONEY to get justice done?


    this is all very,very wrong of governance!!!!

    some thing must be done to rectify this errant way or our society will disintegrate further as more of the poor sgs who get bullied will become bullies themselves as no law enforcer can assist them to get justice!

    thats why ,even in our schools, we are seeing increase in thuggery.
    on the roads,more road bullies.
    in public spaces,more crooks and even in our neighbourhoods.

    you see elderly sgs killing their spouses???
    you see young gals and boys get sexually abused!

    IS THIS HIGH KPI our SCHOLAR-MINISTERS are claiming for themselves?

    even our roads are no more CLEAN,a thing as simple as this ???

    i say sgs wake up to the truth n stop getting CONned!!!

    GD Star Rating
  • Brave Challenge:

    I wonder what is the background of Tammy Tan? She has been the Corp communications for a very long time there. SVP ? Wow.

    Most citizens would not dare do what Ravi did.

    They will be too afraid.

    GD Star Rating

    So many companies here are like that – want people to work hard but don’t want to pay.

    GD Star Rating
  • Good for Sg:

    In a fair and just society, the “small” man should be able to get justice against big organizations.

    GD Star Rating
  • Rabble-rouser:

    Without any clue of Nationality from the 5 SBS bus drivers, I won’t be surprised that majority or all 5 are foreigners eg. 100% Malaysians. Even the Chinamen had given up & have all gone home leaving a few to soldier on.

    No locals would want to work for the Public Bus companies. Too much of a slave-driver!

    Every Bus Interchange I came across, there are plenty of Bus Driver recruitment signs. It had become a permanent landscape feature!

    Similar to Retail & F&B outlets looking for staff but none are applying! Why? Pay too low while hours too long!

    Unions in S’pore stand on the same side as the Govt & Employers. They reap huge profits while paying workers a pittance!

    But then again, 70% had voted for it. S’poreans are responsible for this. What more can I say?

    GD Star Rating
  • 1 pap law 2 pap interpretation:

    INDIAN is malay. when papa is INDIAN, ownself lamented about INDIANness, mendaki says INDIAN, pap says INDIAN is malay so now there is INDIAN president whose position is for malay. 1 pap law 2 pap interpretations.

    INSIDE 200m is not within 200m. If WP folks were caught, all would be punished severely under the pap law. But as heaven has it, goh cock tong jiak liao bee tony tan lky clown were caught. So the INSIDE 200m is not within 200m judgment came out. 1 pap law 2 pap interpretations.

    Cannot sue sister. When someone reposts what sister said, can sue someone. Where got logic? Source of material is sister. If sister is not sued, where got any more right to sue others who repost what sister said. BTW when lky clown took office, he raised his right hand and swore to uphold law of Singapore by governing without fear or favour. By not suing sister but by suing other on the same posts there is governing by FAVOUR. 1 pap law 2 pap interpretations.

    The deeper rot is not the twisted abuse of pap law by pap. It is the beholdenness of those interpreting law to the beholding that ruins a nation.

    GD Star Rating
  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Was I WRONG calling this Dynastic system Cheats-Liars and Scoundrels…paying themselves the HIGHEST in the World and Cheating the Ordinary folks…Don’t say they are NOT involved it trickles Down Down into the Hell Hole the poor Folks has to LIVE & BEAR with… the EVIL!!!

    …while they go Laughing to the Bank Exclaiming…”I am so HAPPY every Month I see my Bank Statement” NOT CPF like the ToothPick man once exclaimed which are peasants lifeLINE???

    GD Star Rating
  • a win for the bus captains:

    all the best Mr Ravi..champion of the downtrodden.
    a true SGknight in shining armour.
    wonder if these bus captains are FW ones.
    SBS Transit stepped on the wrong foot this time.
    theyre not like bodoh timid sgs!

    GD Star Rating
  • Ft pets:

    Most bus driver now from china i think?

    This is what the pap will live with in the future. Foreigners cannot be easily controlled with fear.

    GD Star Rating
  • Asd:

    Country where no money you shut up and get suckered

    GD Star Rating
  • to 'PROTECT' the employees:

    sinkie land has all the so-called ‘GOOD’ laws in place to ‘PROTECT’ the employees ?

    however, given the no-shaming, no protest, no demonstration and hush-hush culture plus open-leg policy (thanks to the white monkey idiots), employers tend to have a VERY STRONG superior position and know how to take full advantage ?

    GD Star Rating
  • Status Quo =No Progress:

    Most slinkies would vote status quo despite knowing what’s wrong and they know who will lose in this lawsuit.

    It’s this lot that allowed the Erosions of good governance.

    When they finally cum for you, you should know there will be no one left to help you. You made this possible.

    GD Star Rating

    I urged my PAP master to quickly deport the Singaporean Bus Captain to JB where Khaw had promised to build a retirement village for elder Singaporeans.


    GD Star Rating
  • oxygen:

    @ PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20:

    REDUNDANT CONFESSION BELOW, we long know you are a poodle on short lease.

    PAP.GUARANTEE.WIN.GE2019/20: I urged my PAP master to quickly deport

    GD Star Rating
  • George:

    Khaw BW and Tan CJ do not care about Singaporeans or their wages, VOTE THEM OUT !

    GD Star Rating
  • rukidding:

    How can you expect those Pimps and prostitutes (Pap) and Gang …”not to screw you” ????

    Just look at those 70% sillyzeans…they all like to be “screwed”.

    Except that only about 30% within that 70% are the “real winners”…the rest…”just plain sillyzeans sucking lolly pops”…happily !

    GD Star Rating

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