Drivers’ action good but…

Yesterday, drivers who are members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and other transport unions went on a sit-down strike over the high cost of fuel in the country, which does not allow them to break even because while prices of petroleum products keep rising, fares remain the same.

Even though other drivers, particularly non-members of the union, decided to work, taskforce-like groups formed by the unions decided to stop such drivers from carrying passengers by either preventing passengers from boarding the vehicles or forcing them to alight from the vehicles.

Media reports said there were scuffles in which some ‘task force’ members banged loaded vehicles with clubs to the extent of breaking windscreens and side glasses.

There were also road blocks, deflation of tyres and prevention of even private car drivers from offering lifts. (See our story on page 15).

Generally, passengers got stranded, particularly in parts of Accra, Tamale and Wa but calmed returned when the leadership of the GPRTU issued a release asking its members to suspend the strike for the time being as the leadership had been invited to the Presidency to talk about the way forward.

Some drivers said they went on the sit-down strike because the Government had failed in keeping its promise of waiving some taxes on prices of petroleum prices.

The Ghanaian Times, therefore, hopes that the Government would prove the skeptics and its detractors wrong by implementing any decision that would resolve all the issues to the satisfaction of both the drivers and the government.

Like any such moves by certain professional bodies or groups in the country, the drivers’ action has called attention to a national problem.

It demands accountability from the government to make the transport business easy to run in order to make related services affordable to the public.

It is public knowledge that once fares are increased, the larger society suffers as, for example, workers would have to pay more for fares from their meagre incomes while traders would transfer to buyers the additional costs they would incur on carting goods to the trading points.

The drivers, therefore, deserve commendation for taking an action which is clearly a selfless undertaking.

However, it must be pointed out that some instances that have come to be associated with their strike are excesses that must be condemned in no uncertain terms.

For instance, the drivers banging vehicles to the extent of breaking their windscreens and glasses, deflating tyres and not allowing their colleagues to take school children to their destinations were not in good taste.

It is unfortunate to state that drivers and their assistants or mates sometimes arrogate to themselves powers that usually hurt others, which in most cases are offensive and even criminal.

They are peremptory in cases such as over-loading and recklessness like speeding and insult passengers who dare raise issues with their misbehaviour.

Besides, some of them do not show the slightest of respect to even the police, which is a matter of great concern that must be addressed because the police come in to ensure the safety of the drivers themselves, their mates, passengers and even pedestrians.

Yesterday’s action highlighted the importance of drivers in the country’s economy and this paper recognizes this but appeals to them to be cautious in all situations while rendering their services.

Show More
Back to top button