Fatal track accident: two workers to appeal against sacking next week

An SMRT train arrives at a station in Singapore on July 19, 2016.
An SMRT train arrives at a station in Singapore on July 19, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The two workers sacked by transport operator SMRT Corp over a fatal track accident in March will submit appeals next week.

SMRT has given the duo till next week to appeal, and the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) is helping them to do so, said labour chief Chan Chun Sing on Friday (Sept 16).

The union will discuss the next steps after the appeals are filed, he told reporters on the sidelines of a dialogue with human resource professionals.

Earlier this week, SMRT fired 49-year-old Rahmat Mohd, who drove the train that struck and killed two SMRT trainees undergoing on-the-job training on the tracks near Pasir Ris station on March 22.

Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were part of a group of 15 sent to investigate a possible fault with a track equipment.

The other employee who was dismissed is believed to be part of the work team on the track that day.

SMRT, which conducted an internal probe into the tragedy, said the accident happened because safety measures, such as deploying watchmen to look out for approaching trains, were not followed.

Besides firing two workers, SMRT also sent verbal and written warnings to other staff.

In an internal e-mail message on Wednesday, SMRT Trains managing director Lee Ling Wee said: "Individual performance grades were recalibrated downwards across various levels of the Trains team, including senior management."

The union will continue to engage with SMRT to "see how we can best manage this issue," Mr Chan said.

When asked if he or NTWU executive secretary Melvin Yong will meet SMRT with the workers next week, Mr Chan said: "There is an appeal process which we will follow."