Maputo — More than 200 Mozambican truck drivers went on strike on Thursday, demanding better working conditions, and complaining against illegalities allegedly committed by their employers.
They parked their vehicles along the main north-south highway (EN1), at Bobole, just outside the city. The trucks stretched for about three kilometres but their drivers made no attempt to obstruct the road.
“We are claiming our rights”, declared Antonio Ferro, chairperson of the Mozambican Association of Truck Drivers, cited in Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.
“Our wages are low. When we make long journeys to countries such as Zambia, they give us an allowance of only 3,000 meticais (42 US dollars), although they know that we will spend several days on the road”, said Ferro.
He added that the drivers are fined for irregularities such as bald tyres, which should be the responsibility of the truck’s owner.
“When the traffic police notice that a truck is not carrying a fire extinguisher, it is the driver who picks up the fine, not the owner. This is not right”, he declared.
Other drivers demanded that Transport Minister Janfar Abdullai and representatives of the Federation of Road Transport Operators (FEMATRO) come to Bobole to speak to them.
The Maputo provincial governor, Julio Parruque, sent the provincial director of transport to speak to the drivers. He was pleased to find that the drivers were not blocking the road, and that their demonstration was peaceful.
“We agreed that, as a government, we shall bring the two sides together so that there can be a constructive dialogue to solve the dispute”, he said.
The strikers said they would only leave Bobole when their demands are met. A complicating factor is that there is no single employer, since the drivers work for a variety of different companies.
Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique