SINGAPORE, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The four Chinese bus drivers charged for their roles in a rare strike in Singapore last year intend to plead guilty, their lawyers said on Friday.
The decision came after the defense asked the prosecution to indicate various sentencing options. One of the lawyers said he is currently not at liberty to share the details, but indicated that while there will be no changes to the reduced charges in a previous offer for the drivers to plead guilty, the sentencing that the prosecution requests may be different.
The drivers will be in court on Monday to plead guilty.
Each of the drivers was charged with one count of instigating an illegal strike, while He Junling, one of them, faced an additional charge of inciting an illegal strike with online posts. Each count of the charges carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a fine of 2,000 Singapore dollars (1,620 U.S. dollars).
The prosecutors had previously offered to reduce the charges to participating in an illegal strike if the drivers plead guilty. He Junling still faces the additional charge of inciting an illegal strike even with the offer.
The four were arrested by the police in November last year and charged with inciting and participating in a rare protest that the government said was an illegal strike.
One hundred and seventy one bus drivers failed to report for duty on Nov. 26 last year in the protest over inequitable pay rises and allegedly discriminatory policies at their employer company SMRT, a local public transport operator. Eighty-eight of them stayed away from work the next day.
The four drivers, represented by local lawyers on a pro bono basis, had earlier claimed trial with trial dates set for March 4 to 8.
A fifth driver arrested after the protest pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six weeks in jail last year. He was not represented by a lawyer.