By Momodou Justice Darboe
Gambia’s apex workers’ union has urged all commercial vehicle drivers to quit the roads and park their vehicles until a common ground is found between the government and drivers over what it called the ‘unilateral’reduction of transport fares by the ministry of transport.
A statement shared withThe Standard Monday signed by Secretary General Ebrima Garba Cham, the Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTUC) said: “The authorities have introduced a new tariff on transport fares contrary to what has been agreed between the registered transport unions and the ministry of transport. The new measures which reduced fares from D8.00 to D7.00 [and]from D12,00 to D10 across the country without consultation is unfair.
The GNTUC is aware of the reduction of fuelprices on the world market in the past years but this has not been reflected on pump prices in The Gambia.
We bear all these phenomena and cooperated in the interest of national development but it is now becoming too much. We believe that we should unite as a nation and promote social dialogue to ensure a level playing ground for all actors.”
The Union said there was no press release on the new transport tariff, or tripartite consultation on the reduction of transport fares nor was the tariff known or made available to the drivers and their union.
“There is yet to be a compensation measure to mitigate the economic loss incurred to the commercial transport industry. We therefore vehemently condemned this move instituted by the authorities. We understand that the police are acting in accordance with restriction on public transport emergency powers regulation but consultation is standard, ethics and values of industrial relations practice.We have no other alternative but to urge all commercial drivers to park their vehicles until we have something genuine in place. We believe that prices of fuel should be reduced to D40.00 per literlet the authorities compensate the commercial transport industry for the loss and reduced passengers,” the statement conduced.