Transporters reject proposal for truckers’ perks
Back to square one; The Transporters Association of Malawi has thrown out a government proposal of K100, 000.00 as minimum monthly salary for truck drivers, the proposal
which quelled an unprecedented truck drivers’ protest.Now truckers are saying from tomorrow, no truck will ply the roads of Malawi until their demand is met. In the middle of it all is government which must ensure uninterrupted public services heavily reliant on truck haul.
But now the transporters association says its members argue that they will not meet the minimum salary dictation as there is no business at the moment.
Chairperson of the Association, Lyton Dzombe, says there is still no agreement with government on the matter because government is not ready to liaise with companies that hire trucks which the drivers use.
“We would like Government to intervene and talk to companies that hire our services, especially on loading rate per trip,” said Dzombe.
It is reported that in 2004, the companies most of them of foreign origin used to pay 3,300 US dollars going to Beira in Mozambique, but the rate was revised to 1,600 US dollars.
Added Dzombe: “We don’t want our drivers to go on strike using our vehicles. But the plain truth is, we are not paying the agreed salaries of K100, 000.”
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport, James Chakwera, says talks are on-going between the two sides such that the next meeting is today Tuesday.
“Our minister has been busy to accommodate them. Suffice to say, their problems are many and we can’t resolve them all over-night.” Chakwera said.
Meanwhile, the association for truck drivers in Malawi says absence of implementation of the proposed minimum salaries will mean a return to the streets.
Low salaries in Malawi’s transport sector forced truck drivers to go for industrial action that almost grounded business three weeks ago.
The strike by the truck drivers grounded all trucks to the extent pump stations begun running dry as supplies could not be ferried.
And some essential services, such as electricity supply, became interrupted.