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SBS Transit sued by group of bus drivers in dispute over overtime pay

According to court documents the drivers claim that SBS Transit paid them an overtime rate that was below the Ministry of Manpower's regulated rate and that the monthly pay slips SBS Transit gave them did not match their working hour records

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A group of five bus drivers are suing their employer, public transport operator SBS Transit, in a dispute over overtime wages. A writ of summons was served on SBS Transit yesterday (23 Sept).

Court documents show that the drivers claim that SBS Transit paid them overtime pay below the Ministry of Manpower’s regulated rate for overtime work and that the monthly pay slips SBS Transit gave them do not match their working hour records.

One of the drivers, Mr Chua Qwong Meng, was allegedly expected to work for seven days in a row without a rest day and ended up working more than 44 hours in one week. SBS Transit allegedly did not pay Mr Chua the regulated overtime wage rate, leading him to seek help with the authorities.

Mr Chua filed a report with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management and the National Trades Union Congress and attended meetings with the National Transport Workers’ Union and representatives from SBS Transit and its parent company ComfortDelGro between July and August 2019.

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His statement of claim states that he did not receive “conclusive answers” despite these efforts. Mr Chua then asked SBS Transit to provide an official letter with a breakdown of his monthly pay and SBS Transit agreed to do so within two days.

The transport operator purportedly failed to deliver on its promise. After four follow-up emails sent by Mr Chua, SBS Transit sent him a reply restating its position, “which is in breach of the contract”.

Mr Chua is not the only driver to have undergone such a situation. The other four drivers have filed similar claims, according to their lawyer M Ravi. Mr Ravi told the Straits Times:

“One of the drivers have (sic) been working for SBS Transit for as long as 10 years and he says he has been underpaid for the whole period.”

Mr Ravi revealed that the five plaintiffs – three Singaporeans and two Malaysians – are still working for SBS Transit but have since resigned as members of the National Transport Workers’ Union since they felt they were not adequately represented in the dispute.

SBS Transit, which has eight days to file notice in court regarding its defense, told the Straits Times that it is discussing the matter with its lawyers and intends to “defend against the allegations rigorously.”

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