MUTARE – Commuter Omnibus drivers operating under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) downed tools and held a peaceful demonstration over delays in disbursement of their salaries at the public transporters’ parking site along Dawson street on Sunday morning.
According to operators of the kombis, they have claimed to have not been paid outstanding money, which has delayed salary payments of the drivers who are owed arrears dating back to at least 3 months.
In an interview with this reporter, one operator who declined to be named said: “lt is close to three months now without receiving payments from ZUPCO. So things are now tight for me as l cannot pay my drivers.”
Majority operators interviewed shared the same sentiments.
“We find it difficult to continue working without getting any salary. This is almost three months now and how do the authorities think about survival,” said the driver who declined to be named.
It is alleged that drivers directly employed by ZUPCO are being paid monthly, while those employed by the operators contracted under ZUPCO have not been paid for at least three months.
Besides salary arrears, the drivers have raised concerns over the working conditions which they say are not conducive.
Contacted for a comment, the ZUPCO Chief Executive Officer Evaristo Madangwa professed ignorance over the delays of payments to operators.
“I am not aware of the strike and demonstration. I am also not aware that operators have not been paid for three months. That cannot be true,” said Madangwa.
The strike left many commuters stranded on Sunday, leading to pirate Kombi operators and hike fares.
Commuters from Dangamvura, Hobhouse and Zimunya where forced to pay $1 a trip to and from town.