Government irks transporters over haulage rates

Post was last updated: January 8, 2020

Dust is refusing to settle in the road haulage business following reports that the Transporters Association of Malawi (Tam) intends to stage a nationwide strike from Monday next week.

The development follows the failure by the Ministry of Transport to enforce new haulage rates agreed with the transporters.

Transport Minister, Ralph Jooma, had indicated in a letter dated November 21 2019 that government had approved the new rates as demanded by the transporters.

But in a letter to Jooma dated December 18 2019 signed by Tam Chairperson, Lyton Dzombe, the transporters expressed disappointment over the government’s failure to enforce the new rates.

“We are disappointed with the way the ministry has handled our grievances which show lack of commitment on the part of the government to resolve these issues which have a huge bearing on our financial ability to pay the drivers what was recently recommended by the ministry to avert a strike called by the Drivers’ Union and the Professional Drivers Association.

“As a consequence of the above, we have resolved to call a nationwide industrial action effective from January 13, 2020 until the grievances are resolved. Your cooperation on the matter will be highly appreciated,” reads the letter in part.

In an interview Tuesday, Dzombe confirmed about the impending nationwide strike from Monday next week.

He said they have failed to get a satisfactory response from Jooma over the issue.

Late October, the truck drivers staged a nationwide strike in a desperate attempt to force the government to intervene in their welfare.

Among others, the drivers were demanding an average salary of between K350,000 to K500,000 in line with their colleagues in the region.

The strike saw the government intervening on the matter and set a minimum salary of K60,000 for truck drivers before hiking it further to K100,000.

Jooma could not be reached for comment.

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