SINGAPORE: SBS Transit on Friday (October 18) said it has filed an application to refer wage dispute cases involving five bus drivers to the Industrial Arbitration Court (IAC).
The IAC separates industrial disputes and certifies collective agreements between unions and employers.
The five bus drivers had claimed the Magistrates' Court and sued SBS Transit for having paid them for overtime. They had also accused the carrier of having them work more than 44 hours a week in violation of the Employment Act.
Court documents stated that one of the drivers, Chua Qwong Meng, was expected to work for seven consecutive days before being given a day off, which was not what he and SBS Transit had agreed on based on the appointment letter.
READ: 5 bus drivers sue SBS Transit in dispute over working hours and overtime pay
A meeting was held between Chua and National Transport Workers & # 39; Union (NTWU) on July 19, and another meeting took place with SBS Transit's parent company ComfortDelGro on August 27th. These provided "no conclusive answer" for Chua, court documents said.
In a press release on Friday, the transport operator said: "SBS Transit, which is proud to be a law-abiding and responsible employer with strong working relationships with its employees and NTWU.
" These claims raise questions that arise from and affect collective agreements that SBS Transit has signed with NTWU.
"In accordance with the law, in the interests of all SBS Transit bus captains and in accordance with the letter and spirit of its excellent relationship with NTWU, SBS Transit will refer these matters to the Indu strial Arbitration Court for its decision."
 Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that SBS Transit's decision to apply to the IAC is a "constructive move".
"The terms of the collective agreement not only affect the five individual bus managers, but also affect about 6,000 other SBS Transit bus managers," said Kandhavel Periyasamy, director (labor relations) of the labor market and workplace department at MOM.
"The IAC is a more appropriate forum to deal with this issue, as it is a specialized court to distinguish between industrial disagreements and it serves to maintain industrial peace," he added.
"The IAC's interpretation of the Collective Agreement will provide clarity and security on the issue for all."