SINGAPORE: A poll has shown that 56 per cent agreed with the way the government has taken time to ascertain the facts before labelling the action as an illegal strike.
The government’s feedback channel REACH conducted a snap poll to find out how Singaporeans felt about the illegal strike by SMRT bus drivers from China on 26 and 27 November.
It also found that nearly eight in 10 Singaporeans agreed that the bus drivers should be punished fully if they have breached Singapore laws.
Many Singaporeans seemed to be aware of the illegal strike with an average of 85 per cent of respondents indicating awareness.
REACH polled 313 Singaporeans who are 15 years old and above between 30 November and 2 December.
56 per cent agreed with the government for taking time to ascertain the facts before labelling the action as an illegal strike.
76 per cent felt the government had acted swiftly in bringing the situation under control.
Channel NewsAsia spoke to several commuters who also echoed these views.
Chow Yit Mei, a teacher, said: ""Given the time they need to take into consideration what went on, they need to go through the processes, I think the time given that they have acted was quite swift."
Jayson Khong, an engineer, said: "Regardless of whether they are from China or other nationalities, they have to abide by the laws. Any concern, I believe that they should not just go on strike, but consult with the management. I believe the government has handled the issue quite professionally, in that they have taken action and they have gone through the rightful procedure."
Mohd Amin, People’s Association staff, RC Manager, said: "We being a law—abiding nation, so anything out of the law, you have to face the consequences."
The media in China had reported that Singaporeans felt sympathetic towards the drivers after details about their salary came to light.
But an average of 74 per cent of those polled felt the bus drivers from China should have gone through the proper channels to air their grievances.
Commuters also felt that SMRT could have done more.
And this was also reflected in the poll in which 76 per cent agree that while the drivers were in the wrong to have staged a strike, SMRT should bear some responsibility as it did not manage the grievances of the drivers well.
Anne Lim, a consultant, said: "They are complaining about the dormitory, the places they are living in, not in a good condition. They should look into that."
R Partipan, a freelancer, said: "They should have laid out their cards well before recruiting them and should have told them about the pay scale between Singaporean drivers, Malaysian drivers and China drivers."
In response to the poll findings, SMRT acknowledged the need to improve its management and communication efforts to be more attuned to the needs of its drivers.
The company said since the incident, it has beefed up its engagement efforts through hotlines and having representatives on the ground.
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