What a striking difference five days made

What a difference five days made
Twenty-four, times five, little hours
Brought the MOM and the powers
Where there used to be complains

What has happened in the space of these five days since those Chinese drivers first went on strike?

SMRT Driver - voiddecker.com

“This strike action has succeeded beyond our imagination.”

  • Ministry of Manpower (MOM) warned SMRT to thoroughly review and improve its human resource and management practices.
  • SMRT announced that it was already planning to give the drivers a $25 increment.
  • SMRT also said it is now looking into their wage concerns and will share its decision with them next week.
  • A first townhall was held with China drivers.
  • Living conditions in the dormitories will be improved through repairing defects and carrying out remedial work on broken fittings.
  • Fumigation has been arranged to fix the bed bug problem.
  • The drivers will be moved to HDB flats and apartments once the dormitory rental agreements expire.
  • A round-the-clock telephone hotline and an email helpdesk have been set up for drivers to provide feedback.
  • SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek, after his long period of no-show, visited the workers’ dormitory to understand first-hand their concerns.

Such efficiency! Would all these have happened if the drivers went through the proper channels of feedback to the management? Would all these have happened if they had been members of the union?

Not a chance.

This government, as we all know, is all about zero tolerance and sending clear signals on anything that doesn’t agree with how it runs the country. Heaven forbid, investor confidence must not be damaged. But if you see how the foreign media actually reported, it was all about the strains in the Singapore society and how we are treating our workers from other countries.

In fact, judging by the list of outcomes above, the clearest signal sent in this whole saga is that strikes will get you heard and prompt the powers that be into action.

Oh, the irony.

My yesterday was blue dear
Today I’m heard by you dear
My bed bug nights are through dear
Since I joined the picket line

Oh, what a difference five days made