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48hrs transport strike begins today
Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation on Saturday announced a 48-hour countrywide work abstention from today demanding changes to the newly enacted Road Transport Act, 2018.
Associations of drivers of three-wheelers, human haulers and taxicabs also expressed their solidarity with the work abstention which is scheduled to begin at 6:00am today.
The federation announced the programme from a rally in front of National Press Club to press home their eight-point demand.
If their demands were not met, they would call an indefinite strike very soon, the federation leaders threatened.
Workers from different city terminals and districts joined the rally chanting the slogan – ‘Fashir roshi golay niye amra gari chalabo na.’ (We will not drive vehicles with hanging rope round their neck)
They demand making all road accident-related cases bailable, cancelation of Tk 5 lakh fine for road accidents, reducing fines and cancellation of punishment for overloading, setting academic qualification at Class V instead of present qualification at Class VIII, an end to police harassment and corruption in issuance of driving licences, a representative of workers in the investigating committee for road accidents, training facilities for drivers and respective association or union leader’s signature on each worker’s appointment letter.
While addressing as chief speaker, the federation general secretary, Osman Ali, said if the government met their demands, they would withdraw the work abstention right away.
He alleged that there was no requirement of educational qualification to be lawmaker or even prime minister while educational qualification was made mandatory for transport workers.
Following a recent ban on human haulers in Dhaka city many drivers were living in an inhuman condition, he further alleged.
He urged the fellow workers not to go for picketing on roads but to be alert to any attempts by the third force.
The federation vice-president, Sadiqur Rahman Hiru, said that if the government would not meet their demands, they would enforce an indefinite strike.
Recent directives of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to ensure five-hour work and rest rooms for drivers were yet to be implemented, he added.
The rally was addressed by the federation leaders from Chattogram, Sylhet, Rangpur, Narayanganj, Rajshahi and other districts.
BDchronicle correspondent in Jashore reported that activists of Paribahan Sangstha Sramik Samity and Jashore District Truck, Tank-lorry Workers Union announced the strike at several places in the district.
Shipping minister Shajahan Khan, also executive president of the federation, on October 22 had said that the law was updated and it should be implemented appropriately.
Pointing at the recent strikes observed by transport workers, road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on October 21 said there was no scope for amending the new law for the time being.
Earlier, between October 7 and October 9, Bangladesh Goods Transport Owners and Workers’ Unity Council enforced work abstention mainly in Dhaka division with similar demands.