Bus Drivers Are Suing SBS Transit For Overwork And Unpaid Wages

Five bus drivers are suing their employer SBS Transit for allegedly underpaying them for overtime hours and for getting them to work more than 44 hours a week in breach of the Employment Act. Under Ministry of Manpower (MOM) guidelines, employees are entitled to an overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their hourly basic pay – if their basic salaries do not exceed S$4,500 a month.

The bus drivers are being represented by prominent human rights lawyer, Mr M Ravi of Carson Law Chambers, who served the writ of summons on Monday (Sep 23). 

According to court documents, one of the drivers, Mr Chua Qwong Meng, was expected to work for seven days in a row before getting a day off. These terms were not agreed on in the original employment contract. This was also in breach of the Employment Act.

Mr Chua also claimed he worked more than 44 hours a week, but was not paid the legally required overtime pay. He discovered this discrepancy when records of his working hours didn’t match the monthly pay slips he received.

SBS Transit’s senior vice president of corporate communications issued an official response.

“SBS Transit confirms that writs of summons were served by Carson Law Chambers on behalf of five of our bus captains yesterday. We are in discussion with our lawyers. We intend to defend against the allegations rigorously.”

SBS Transit’s senior vice president of corporate communications Tammy Tan

Unions failed to provide conclusive answers

According to court documents, Mr Chua lodged a report with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). The case was eventually referred to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

Two meeting were held between Mr Chua and the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) on Jul 19, and another meeting with SBS Transit’s parent company ComfortDelGro on Aug 27. 

“No conclusive answers” were given to Mr Chua after the meetings.

Mr Chua also personally pursued the matter by asking for a breakdown of his monthly pay and sending four “chaser emails” to SBS Transit, but to no avail.

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