Union calls on bus drivers to end protest until meeting with Gov’t
The Union representing the interest of bus drivers across the country have called on them to end their protests until it secures a meeting with the Government to discuss the rising fuel prices.
President of the United Bus Drivers’ Union, Eon Andrews told reporters at a news conference Friday that the organisation wants the authorities to address a number of issues that have contributed to the amplified cost of operations of minibus drivers.
Andrews explained that the Union’s request for an increase in public transportation fares is warranted since the fee structure was updated four years ago.
Within that period, bus drivers have struggled to cope with drastic increases in driver’s licence fees, revenue licences, fitness certificate, and tyres.
Driver’s licence increased from $2000 to $4000, fitness from $1500 to $3000, and revenue licence for buses from $9000 to $14,040.
The Union explained that drivers paid about $6000 per used tyre but now they have to spend roughly $25,000 each.
In addition, the Union said bus drivers have to budget for repairs to vehicles, servicing, gas prices, conductors’ salaries and “a lil extra” for police.
Andrews estimated that the operating costs for bus drivers have gone up by 90%.
The Union Head said he will write Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin sometime next week to request a meeting to discuss these issues.
He said if the outcome of the probable meeting is not favourable, then the Union will have to ‘activate’ its last resort.
Andrew was cautious to reveal the Union’s “last resort” but he reminded that if minibuses countrywide strike, it would result in a shutdown of the country as children, as well as workers, will not make it to their destinations.
He said the Union does not want to resort to a countrywide strike but he expressed hopes that the Government will seriously consider the struggles of minibus operators.