Government has warned Truck Drivers not to go ahead with their planned work stoppages and allow government and their representatives’ resolve their issues.
Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya is concerned with the voice and text messages circulating on social media by a selection of serving drivers and non-serving drivers who are inciting other drivers to go on a work stoppage.
Mr. Kafwaya is concerned that this is being done without respecting the process that has been agreed upon by the Drivers Associations, Driver Unions and Government through his Ministry and Ministry of Labour and Social Security to address the many issues affecting them including low salaries.
“I want to urge all well-meaning drivers to be patriotic to this country and ignore those that are bent at negating the positive contribution of your services to this economy”, he said.
Mr. Kafwaya said government is concerned with the conduct of some transporters that pay meagre salaries to their drivers and will do everything possible through his Ministry and Ministry of Labour and Social Security to ensure that conditions of service are harmonized and improved in earnest.
He said his Ministry will also ensure that employment of foreign drivers when such services can be offered by local drivers is stopped with immediate effect.
Mr. Kafwaya said he is aware that some demands have already been acted upon by his Ministry through the Road Transport and Safety Agency while other Ministries are equally working on the components that relate to their respective portfolio functions.
He said going forward, Government will immediately embark on consultations to consider implementing sector based minimum wage for the transport sector and has called on all drivers to call off their impending action and wait for the execution of the agreed actions with your union.
Mr. Kafwaya said his Ministry remains open to positive contribution from all Zambians for the country to achieve its Vision of becoming the hub of transport and logistics in Southern Africa by 2030.
He has urged all Professional truck drivers to have a united front through their union and engage the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for guidance on the means of uplifting working conditions for all drivers in the sector.
Mr. Kafwaya has also requested all stakeholders in the road transport sector to work with Government to enhance a sustainable road transport system for the country.