Wheels turn for sacked drivers in KMB U-turn

Local | Jane Cheung 9 Mar 2018

All four sacked Kowloon Motor Bus drivers have been reinstated pending their appeal, with one of them already back behind the wheel.

Yip Wai-lam, founder of the Monthly Paid Bus Drivers' Alliance, and her husband, Lau Cheuk-hang, returned to the bus depot yesterday afternoon to retrieve their staff cards.

She said KMB had promised to allow the couple to drive during the appeal period, but they had yet to be assigned work schedules.

"I can work and get paid during the appeal period. I think the company is sincere in solving the matter," Yip said.

KMB workers' union chairman Kwok Chi-shing said the other two sacked drivers, surnamed Wong and Lee, met the company's human resources officers and are also returning to work.

He said the offer was made to the pair without any disciplinary action or conditions.

Lee started driving again yesterday for the first time since the dismissal notices were issued on Tuesday.

Wong is on holiday and will back on the road a week from today.

Kwok appreciated the firm's prompt reaction, saying HR officers were "sincere, straight-forward and friendly" when meeting Wong and Lee.

"I think [KMB] knows that the case wasn't handled properly. Now they're trying to put it back on the right track and prevent it from becoming big," he said.

But Kwok still criticized the bus operator for initially handling the case without considering the consequences. He believed Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's public criticism of KMB had put pressure on the employer to change its attitude.

A KMB spokesman confirmed the decision to allow the quartet to work again, but said the offer was conditional, as the cases are still going through the appeal mechanism.

He said shift arrangement teams may assign driving slots to the four, but exact work schedules for Yip and her husband have yet to be released.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the Labour Department originally planned to meet with KMB and Yip yesterday afternoon.

But the meeting was called off as both sides said they would like to solve the case through the appeal mechanism first.

Law said the government would be happy to mediate if asked.

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