Government’s decision to ban bus operators Rimbi Tours and Zebra Kiss last week reportedly left up to 400 workers at the two passenger transporters jobless.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Felix Mhona banned the companies’ operations following a fatal road traffic accident involving a Rimbi Tours bus at the 160km peg along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway.
The bus conductor was killed while several passengers were injured in an accident linked to human error following a high speed race between the two bus crews which were competing for passengers.
Associated Transport Workers Union (ATWUZ) General Secretary Leonard Mutizwa told New Zimbabwe that the suspension of the licences had cost members of his union their jobs and called on the minister to consider their plight and withdraw his decision.
“We also have those working in workshops, like mechanics and also those in administration who will also be affected by that decision,” he said.
Mutizwa said the minister should have considered the plight of the workers and their families before reaching the tough decision.
“While we acknowledge that the two bus crews erred, we are not happy with the decision reached by the Minister of Transport, Felix Mhona to suspend operation licenses of the two companies because he did not consult players in the transport industry before reaching that decision.
“He should have approached us and asked for our opinion instead of making a unilateral decision to suspend their licences because of the acts of just a few individuals, adversely affecting hundreds of other innocent workers at the two companies,” he said.
The ATWUZ General Secretary said Mhona should have made use of the existing labour and criminal laws to punish just the two bus crews instead of punishing other workers who had nothing to do with the accident.
“We have our Employment Code for the Transport Industry which disciplines errant workers at plant level according to the Labour Act and we also have criminal laws which deal with offending drivers, including those involved in dangerous driving like in the case of the two drivers.
“These laws should have been used to deal specifically with those two drivers instead of making a decision that would affect other drivers plying different routes and observing the rules of the road,” he said.
Meanwhile, government has since lifted Zebra Kiss ban.