By Buba Gagigo
The president of the Transport Union, Omar Ceesay, has today declared that effective Monday the 20th June 2020, all commercial drivers will go on a sit down strike.
Ceesay made this revelation to Kerr Fatou and said it is being used as a measure of last resort as the Transport Ministry has, since the announcement of the state of public emergency, failed to respond to their calls for intervention.”
It is expected that the strike will include Taxi, Van, Truck and all other commercial drivers.
The president of the union noted that drivers continue to suffer a lot during this state of public emergency and that they struggle very hard to make enough money to take to their vehicle owners and families.
He informed Kerr Fatou of the Ministry’s failure to honor the Union’s call for a dialogue as they believe “communication [by involving all stakeholders in a discussion] to be the most important [step to take]” concerning the challenges that union members face as a result of the declaration of the state of public emergency.
Notwithstanding the numerous “complaints lodged”, the Ministry has “failed to respond” Ceesay alleged.
Among the things which the drivers are unhappy about is the reduction on the number of passengers they could carry. As you could recall, emergency regulations have cut vehicle’s carrying capacity to half of the number they were ordinarily licensed to carry.
According to Ceesay, the solution does not lie in this decision, it lies in maintaining the original number of passengers and putting in place some stringent measures: “if you go to the markets and other public places, the measures put in place [to cub the spread of the virus] are not [being] observed” he observed. .
He continued on to stress the role of the union which is to protect the drivers and the passengers. “Our drivers are suffering and the Transport Ministry has not considered anything possible to help them” he noted.
Ceesay said that as their calls for a recourse have felt on deaf ears, and as he claimed, the reduction in fuel was in itself not enough for the drivers, the sit down strike will begin effectively on Monday.
On a separate account, the union president has called attention to the situation at the Bwiam checkpoint. He said the checkpoint caused many accidents and advised the government to relocate it to a much safer place to avoid further casualties and damage to vehicles.