Transport problems to worsen as drivers went on industrial action.

Transport problems to worsen as drivers went on industrial action.

By Letwin Mazarura

Zimbabwe’s public transport problems are set to worsen after  the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) bus drivers this week vowed to continue with their industrial action over poor salaries and working conditions.

The drivers, largely from ZUPCO affiliated public transport operators in major cities, plan to intensify their industrial action, which began this week on Monday at Khami Depot in Bulawayo.

The drivers said they have not been receiving their salaries for months now and also the buses they are using are not fit for road.

“…This is a really difficult thing for us as bus drivers. Our owners are just taking advantage of us because we are poor. Just imagine the busses need repairs, they are no longer fit to be on the road. I am working for peanuts, now they are threatening us that if we do not go back to work then they will look for other people to employ. It’s just a reflection of how unfair these people are. We are tired of them,” a ZUPCO bus driver, who identified himself as Daniel Zulu complained.

Another driver, Leo Mpofu said, “Bus owners  are not paying ZUPCO bus drivers enough money. We want ZUPCO bus owners to give us a raise because the money that we are being paid is meagre. The working hours do not tally with the money that we are being paid. We work from 4am to 10 pm  daily which is about 16 hours  without    having lunch ,” Mpofu said.

He said bus drivers were being ill treated by the inspectors.

“They are making us work tirelessly  for nothing. Another thing is the contract says they should be employing two drivers for each bus but instead because they are after money , one bus driver is expected to work for 16 hours for money which does not make sense,”  Mpofu said .

Another bus driver who asked for anonymity said whenever they ask for sick leave or off days they do not get paid at all.

“Some bus owners pay their drivers ZWL$1200 a day which is very little. If it happens that you get sick , or there is a funeral or you request for off days, we do not get paid for that,” he said .

Nyari Mashayamombe

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