Monday, August 24, 2015

Govt doubts drivers’ training plan

The government has put in suspicion plans by Tanzania Drivers Workers Union (TADWU) of conducting training to all drivers in the country saying that, ‘this is a pretext to successfully accomplish the impending drivers strike’ a statement issued by the government has said. According to the statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labor and Employment Eric Shitindi said that, the programme set by TADWU to drivers in the country is a planed mission aimed to facilitate the impending strike organized by the union in favour of drivers in the country. The government has discovered that the objective of organizing such a training programme at this time around is to get off the road all drivers as a way to get a solution to their long standing claims. The statement has highlighted such claims as associated with permanent legal contract work, salary increment, enough daily allowances and the minimum wage in transport sector and other claims associated with their fringe benefits as well as terminal benefits. The statement is quoted as saying that the government had satisfied itself after it had come across such a plan and deliberated the content issues of the programme set and it has discovered that TADWU has violated the country’s labour laws as such information was not passed through to the respective working places of the concerned drivers’ employers where TDWU has its members targeted to undergo such a training programme. In addition to that, the information conveyed by TADWU officials had greater discrepancy in the sense that it did not specify the types of drivers, nor the number of participants for the training, the number of nominees by their employers, the timetable for the sessions to be undertaken, the statement said. The statement further highlighted other discrepancy in TADWU’s information report that it lacked approval by employers as well as it didn’t indicate the type if transport vehicle which would stop from operating so as to avoid inconveniences likely6 to occur during training days. However, either the government in its statement has highlighted various elements which have to be followed by the governing workers bodies while introducing such training requesting the representatives of such trade unions must inform employers to get in touch with their employees according to the law. 

This is how the situation was in recent past when drivers went on strike at Ubungo upcountry bus stand in Dar es Salaam. After seven hours of their strike, they started to move out of the stage compound amid cheering from the crowd that had gathered outside the gate celebrating in jubilation as each bus was coming out in a miraculous style.

In implementing such directives, the drivers must be allowed by their employers to attend such training in order to keep going other activities bearing the fact that transport sector is crucial for the country’s development if at all the movements of goods and passengers stalls, the economy collapses. Another element as directive the government has instructed as quoted in a statement  is that, all trade unions have the right to provide in-house training to employees in their places of work where there are branches or wherever there are genuine members. In view of this, the government has insisted and reminded TADWU leaders and drivers in the country to implement their day-to-day’s activities as stipulated by the country’s laws and shun away from any malpractices which are threat to the property and people’s life especially to those who depends on transport services. Either the government has cautioned them to recognize that their position is very important and if not followed properly according to the law is likely to slow down social and economic activities in the country. The government has also warned drivers and TADWU officials that the programme set for their training is an indication of a strike which is not legal according to the country’s labor laws, and if it happens that drivers shall have violated the law. The PS noted in the statement that the government has made efforts to educate transport stakeholders through seminars and various trainings and has actively involved in distributing papers and flayers as a joint communication to end up the long standoff between drivers and their employers as related with their remunerations in order to end up inconveniences caused to innocent people. He concludes the government would continue to educate stakeholders on what was decided by a task force of the 13 committee members which was formed by the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda to look at the problems of drivers in the country. The committee chairperson Dr. Shabaan Mwinjaka issued his report to transport stakeholders two weeks ago and directed all employers to abide by what the committee had decided about driver’s queries. The committee which was enjoined by drivers’ associations in the country was formed to deliberate driver’s most crucial issues and came up with a solution that all employers need to implement.

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