THE strike by fuel tanker drivers, which caused an acute shortage of fuel in Lusaka, has ended, Minister of Energy and Water Development Dora Siliya and her Labour and Social Security counterpart Fackson Shamenda have said.
Speaking at a joint press briefing with Mr Shamenda in Lusaka yesterday, Ms Siliya said that they had a successful meeting with some oil marketing companies (OMCs) and union leaders representing the drivers.
“I would like to thank the union leaders for the tanker drivers for showing a lot of understanding in dealing with this issue and for them to call off the strike,” Ms Siliya said.
Ms Siliya said the drivers have started loading fuel and that the situation will soon return to normal.
She said that her ministry, working with the ministry of Labour and Social Security, will ensure that the concerns raised by the drivers are amicably resolved through meetings that will be ongoing.
Ms Siliya said the ministry of Labour and Social Security will lead the negotiations to ensure that the conditions of service for the drivers are looked into.
And Mr Shamenda said that the strike by the tanker drivers should be the last one and that they should learn to engage in dialogue.
Zambia Union of Tanker Drivers and Allied workers representative Humphrey Kapesha said the strike had ended and assured the nation that the situation would return to normal by today.
Earlier, Union of Petroleum Drivers and Allied Workers vice president Bob Ndalama said in an interview that his members called off the strike.
Mr Ndalama said the drivers have returned to work though there are some drivers who have ill motives and are still not working.
He urged all tanker drivers not to listen to some of their colleagues who might have hidden motives and involved themselves in an illegal strike.
Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia spokesperson Benson Tembo said his association was opposed to the strike from the beginning.
Mr Tembo said the tanker drivers who were involved in the strike were acting under peer pressure.
Meanwhile, checks in some parts of Lusaka by midday yesterday revealed an acute shortage of fuel but at some service stations, attendants said they expected supplies later in the night.