SINGAPORE: The 13 former and current bus drivers who are taking SBS Transit to court for allegedly unfair work practices have appointed Lim Tean as their lawyer, to replace M Ravi.
In a statement released to the media on Wednesday (Nov 24), the main plaintiff Mr Chua Qwong Meng said he and the other bus drivers have appointed Mr Lim of Carson Law Chambers to represent them.
"We thank Mr Lim for agreeing to take our case at such short notice, despite his heavy caseload. He has also agreed to take on our case with no demand as to fees," said Mr Chua.
He added that Mr Lim is a "prominent lawyer and political leader" who has been involved in high-profile legal cases in recent years, and the drivers are confident that he will be able to plead their case effectively in court and help them achieve the desired outcome.
The bus drivers had discharged M Ravi as their lawyer on Monday (Nov 22), saying that they were "very embarrassed" by his behaviour towards the judge and opposing counsel Davinder Singh on the first day of trial.
Mr Ravi had called Mr Singh a "clown". The drivers said he had "absolutely no excuse or justification" to do so.
They said they did not condone Mr Ravi's behaviour at all and were shocked by his display, adding that he had "let us down very badly and hurt our case immeasurably".
The drivers said they had paid Mr Ravi more than S$55,000, which was raised through "the public's generosity in donating to our cause".
Mr Lim confirmed with CNA on Wednesday afternoon that he was taking up the bus drivers' case.
In a Facebook post, Mr Lim said the case involves "legal issues which have enormous ramifications not only for the economic interest of SBS Transit drivers, but also many other workers in Singapore".
He pledged to do his "utmost" for his clients so that their interests are protected, adding that their "success in this litigation will also translate into benefit for many thousands of workers in Singapore".
Mr Ravi, who is usually active on Facebook, has not posted since he uploaded a video on Monday of Mr Singh's subordinate.
Mr Chua, who worked for SBS Transit from April 2017 to early 2020, claims that SBS Transit breached the Employment Act by not giving him a rest day each week and that he was also underpaid for overtime work.
He commenced his suit against SBS Transit in September 2019. Although the case was mounted by Mr Chua, another 12 drivers are linked to it, with Mr Chua claiming that about S$720,000 is involved in the allegations of all 13 suits.