SMRT - A little revolution and 6 martyrs

The SMRT strike was like a little revolution in Sin City that unraveled a lot of nerves and the false sense of security. How could it happened? It should not have happened at all, if only the management was not complacent, more sensitive and not to treat the grievances of foreign workers as something that can be kicked further and further down the road. The workers were on 2 year contract and in no time they would be due for repatriation. Maybe this is the mindset, and there was no urgency to settle anything.

The aftermath of the strike after the govt moved in with a heavy hand, a no nonsense and zero tolerance for strike, elevated 6 strikers to martyr status while 29 comrades were sent home. This is not all. The sacrifice of these comrades did not go in vain. Their grievances are being attended to immediately with the CEO sitting with them in their bed bugs infested bunks. There were promises of improved living conditions and token pay rises.

But things are escalating and more good news is in the air. The Minister of Transport, Lui Tuck Yew, said the Govt recognizes the need to increase the salaries of bus drivers. Now all the drivers, local and foreign are in glee and only the strikers to thank for. And the Union Chief, Lim Swee Say said that the Union is looking forward to serve the foreign drivers, probably laying down the red carpet for them to join them. They would not be any need for little discussions that led to no where. The Union will be representing them to get fair wages and good living and working conditions.

Now for the bad news. Lui Tuck Yew wants to increase their pay but is asking where the money should come from. I am very happy that I do not take buses for my transportation. Don’t look at me. The bus commuters are likely to have to share the woes of the bus drivers, foreign and local drivers, to give them a big angbao for the Chinese New Year.

I would like to suggest, of course it would be of no use, that the fat pay and bonuses of the top management, the directors, and the big profits of the transport company be slashed for this increase instead of the poor commuters. They are too fat for their own good. Okay, fat hope, I know. We don’t even believe in progressive taxation and how could the rich and fat be made to pay for the increases of the drivers? It must come from the poor commuters.

Did I forget that $1b has already been set aside for something like this?


Anonymous said...

Red bean, I agreed with you. Absolutely no way that the profit be used to pay for the increase in any salary as one has to be fair to the shareholders who risk their capital. Capital can be totally wiped off in badly run companies so the risk is enormous.

Anonymous said...

Wow lau..new year must pay property tax and soon fare hike...Tuck You MIWs!

Anonymous said...

You see, when a company is ruled by a charismatic and powerful ceo like Saw, nobody dare take a strike. But when Saw was pulled from the pedestals, workers and foreign workers smelled blood. Power has shifted to the commoners. You can expect to see more strikes in the new normal. When the mouse is not watching, the mice runs loose.

Anonymous said...

public transportation should not be profit oriented, if they are so profit oriented then they should not be addressed as public transportation

Anonymous said...

Sinkies can subsidize SMRT management and shareholders with a $1.1 billion subsidy.

But SMRT management and shareholders cannot subsidize Sinkies by frezzing their pay and dividends.

What the fark?
Is this PAPig meritocracy?
Robbing the poor to pay the rich?

Anonymous said...

This is a no brainer kind of decision. I also want to be the transport minister. No wonder we call the pay & pay. When we pay these people millioms in salary and other perks, the least we could expect is some better ideas. Perhaps as Red Beabn has suggested turn back and look at bonuses paid to their bosses and shareholders. With government injecting more than a billion into their asset enrichment fund, why there is a need to raise fare. Have they forget that the billion comes from us, the people? That translates into billions of trip fare subsidy.
Does SMRT ever think, its time to serve the people rather than continue to fatten their shareholders? Who give them that right?

Anonymous said...

PAPigs listening carefully at the NatCON


Anonymous said...

As a shareholder of many companies, I have lost sometimes the whole capital invested. This is the type of risk we shareholders have to stomach. Luckily red bean can see through the enormous risk we faced.

If passengers can not stomach the fare increases, best would be for the government to offer us a buy back. I am more than happy to sell my shares but don't ask me to bear enormous risk and forgo the risk adjusted return that is fair.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a sad saga and the government come to see the need only after the China had sacrificed themselves for the benefit of all the bus drivers. Well, I dont know what management style you call that, maybe it is "management by crisis"
It is equally sad that the Transport minister suggested the bus fare increase to pay for the drivers salary increase. I guess the TOP Management of companies are untouchables like one of the minister made a statement "I need S$1 mil plus salary to maintain his/her quality of life". So sinkies wake up , things are slowly unfolding :; first the property tax increase and now the pending Bus fare increase. What next , lah????????

The said...

Exactly. Why must bus fares go up if there is an increase in bus drivers' pay? Why can't the company absorb it? Afterall, they are making indecent profits and also benefitting from the $1.1 billion windfall from the government (read we taxpayers' money). What is wrong with making a few million less a year instead of hundreds of millions or tens of millions of profit a year?

How about reducing the pay of top management - they screwed up. Their pay are already too obscene - especially that woman who admitted that SMRT's HR practice needs to be improved and she's paid more than $600k. How about the inexperienced paper general - just his pay cut alone will be enough to pay for the increased salary of all drivers.

Anonymous said...

With all these trouble, bring the army in lah. Oh forgot, it is happening already. Next time no need to pay bus fare. Just salute to the driver will do.

Veritas said...

Upon all regime changed, there must be some martyrs la. Its was the martyrs in Hock Lee bus riots that brought PAP into power, galvanizing the Chinese voter base.

Today, the 6 martyrs could be the beginning of the end the bring PAP down.

Histories are full of ironies. LKY rise to power by playing trouble maker organizing strikes. He consolidate his power by reducing civil service salary after ascend of PAP.

Today, minister salary and strike are taking down PAP. I think we will see more surprises.

Maybe Olam will blow up tomorrow giving Madame de Pompadour-Ho Ching more shit in her reputation.

so1trg said...

The issue i believe lies in the crux of the matter that Public Transportation (Buses + Trains) should be a public good (nationalized) and not allowed to run as a private generating enterprise.

Elaboration: If SMRT/SBS Transit is listed and truely private, then it should be market forces, capital market funding, profit/losses that decide how they wanna pay their staff. (like any P/L basis corporation).
If the tax payers have to fork out $1.1bn (earlier in the year for new buses) to subsidize these private company, it is no wonder that people will kao peh kao bu. Taxpayer pay but who benefit?
Now they wanna increase bus/train fares at the expense of who? (public who else), of course knn we have to go on strike liao!!!

Anonymous said...

The intended increase in public transport fares is expected. If SMRT makes a profit who do you think benefits most? The shareholders of course, and the biggest share holder is none other than TH no doubt.

Anonymous said...

In future...non-white horse NSFs assign to drive public buses / trains

New rank: Captain (bus)

Matilah_Singapura said...

Wah. So many jokers.

SMRT is a listed company. It pays dividends to shareholders, of course it is run for profit: are you asleep?...hello!

Furthermore, this is SINGAPORE you are talking about -- a government business corporation (aka "monopoly")...it is UNDERSTOOD-ED that it must profit. (Still asleep?)

I don't hate to say "I told you so"...fares will rise. Why not? It is a monopoly.

Don't talk about "fairness" or "justice" --- that shit doesn't apply to a monopoly. Then ask yourself why in hell the money for ore pay for the drivers has to come out of: (1) Shareholders profits (2) Company's pockets. Cut top management's pay? You have to be fucking kidding.

For fuck's sake, face up to reality lah. You want cheap: pay LESS for labour. You want "fair": Dig deep into your heart and pocket, and keep less of your money.

Cake. Eat. Too. Cannot.

BTW, the prices for public transport are still relatively CHEAP compared to other cuntrees.

Anonymous said...

You, yes you, selling your pantat?

Anonymous said...

Matilah. Money is pumped and flow back to shareholders. In this case TH isthe majority. So want to make profit? Just spend on these companies and wala, money drops from the tree.

The said...

/// Matilah_Singapura said...
SMRT is a listed company. It pays dividends to shareholders, of course it is run for profit: are you asleep?...hello!///

It is run for profit - but who says the government has to guarantee that it makes profit? And which commercial can have the luxury of the government pumping in $1.1 billion of taxpayers' money?

Anonymous said...

Zero tolerance is a one way street.

Anonymous said...

Someone blogged "SMRT to replace drivers with NSFs"...hello, some of the near "botak" Ah Tiongs already looked like NSFs to me

And it's true..currently NSFs are already housed in rooms of 40+...so no problem expected like the Ah Tiongs

Think what the CEO really need from the army is RSM to keep everyone in order

Matilah_Singapura said...

I say people...you all still don't get it.


Government corporation, listed publicly.

Run by Singaporeans.

Err...did you expect them NOT to make a profit, nor pay their top people "decent" salaries and their workers "good" wages.

Wake the fuck up! Which planet you living on?

P.S. I have no skin in the game. And at the end of the day, I don't give a shit. Govt corporations are simply legalised monopolies and the corruption that goes with it.

What knocks me out is that the people get the government they deserve, but then complain about the government they get.

It's like a drug addict who can't wait for his next hit, but hates the fact that he's hooked.

Got government addiction?


Matilah_Singapura said...


Cheap goods
Cheap labour
Cheap airfares
Cheap pussy

Caveat emptor!

Anonymous said...

NOT FAIR...no key postings for military men from the elite Guards...just because their motto is "READY TO STRIKE"..sian

Anonymous said...

That the next fare adjustment will be the result of the salary increase for bus drivers is a no brainer guess by all Singaporeans.

If just passing the buck like that also can call solving problems, I fail to understand why they need talented people as MPs.

Padaly said...

$1 billion to buy new top of the range super Bentley buses lah. Not to pay the drivers. Pls don't get confused. Another another billion for drivers pay? The extra cost got to come from somewhere either the govt or commuters. Which means tax payers money. Why can't it be from those "fat management" like you suggested? Remember they are super elites and need to be highly paid for their talent? That's the mindset of this place. It's the accepted ethos here. Got it?

patriot said...

Why cant the profit be kept lower than to increase fares?

No fare increases benefit commuters by millions of trips per day whereas lucrative profits only benefit few top management staff and tens of thousand shareholders.

As a public transport operator, benefits should rightly be in favour of the Public which also benefit the staff and shareholders if they and their families also use the public transports.


Anonymous said...

When the govt says it wants to help you, you will have to pay for it without fail. That's the main reason why the govt is so proactive, trying to help the people.