By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
TRUCK drivers’ work stoppage will further disrupt the supply chain which has already been affected by Covid-19, says Zambia Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics president, Zindaba Soko.
He said Zambia’s economy which depends on the transport sector would be negatively affected if the strike was allowed to take long.
Mr Soko was commenting on the recent work stoppages by some truck drivers, who were protesting low salaries.
He emphasised the need for Government to speed up the process of changing the category of truck drivers to professional from domestic workers.
Mr Soko insisted that a Statutory Instrument (SI) should quickly be passed to categorise truck drivers in the professional level and not domestic.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security, he said, and all the affected parties needed to go to the table to agree on time lines as opposed to truck drivers going on work stoppage.
He stressed that the drivers were responsible for imports and exports and therefore stopping work disrupted the supply chain.
“We feel that the category of them being like domestic workers is not correct. Considering that there has been less movement this due to the COVID-19 issues, this has already affected our economy negatively.
“So work stoppage will still affect our economy negatively, these driver are frontlines,” Mr Soko said in an interview. “As an institution, we are trying to supplement Governments’ efforts to see how this can be sorted out amicably as opposed to drivers going on work stoppage. He therefore emphasised the need to harmonise the wages for the truck drivers in the SADC region.
Mr Soko indicated that Zambian truck drivers were among the least paid in the Southern African and Development Community (SADC) region especially when compared to countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola and Congo among others.
“As a SADC regions, it will be important to look at the angle of harmonisng the wages for these drivers because if we affect the supply chain more, Covid-19 has already done us bad and we are going to reach a stage of multiplying the problems instead of reducing them,” Mr Soko said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU