SINGAPORE — Five more bus drivers are suing their employer SBS Transit over alleged breaches of the Employment Act, claiming they were overworked and underpaid.
The drivers’ legal actions follow in the footsteps of eight of their colleagues who last year sued their employer over similar claims. The suits are still pending.
The five drivers in the latest suits – one Singaporean and five Malaysians – filed writs of summons against SBS Transit last Friday (28 February).
According to their statements of claim, the drivers say that for the morning shift, they are required to take transport indented at 3am when work starts at 5am, but they are not compensated for the period between 3am and 5am.
For the night shift, the drivers say they are required to take transport at 2am, but no reimbursement is made if they miss the indented transport because they have to clean their buses.
Meanwhile, for drivers working the split shift from 5am to 9am, and then from 1pm onwards, they are not compensated for the period between 9am and 1pm as it is not considered to be working hours.
The drivers in the eight suits last year also said in their statements of claim that their employer had mandated a 12-day work week and four hours of “built-in overtime” into their employment contracts.
Hence, they effectively had two rest days for 12 days of work, or a rest day after seven days of consecutive work. They also claim to have been underpaid from the time they started work as SBS Transit did not pay them for overtime work in accordance with the Employment Act.
All 13 bus drivers are being represented by lawyer M. Ravi of Carson Law Chambers.
The plaintiffs are asking for damages to be assessed for wages, costs and a statutory interest of 5.33 per cent per year.
Under the employment law, workmen earning less than $4,500 cannot be made to work more than 44 hours a week. Those who work on their rest day at the request of their employer must also be paid between one days’ salary and two days’ salary with overtime pay, depending on the hours worked.
In response to queries by Yahoo News Singapore, Ms Tammy Tan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, SBS Transit, said, “SBS Transit confirms that writs of summons have been served yesterday by Carson Law Chambers on behalf of five more of our bus captains (BC). The allegations are similar to those made earlier by eight of our BCs. We intend to defend against all allegations vigorously.”
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