Public Transport Sector Unwavering on Strike
demands an end to weekly review of fuel prices
The president of the Union of the Associations of Land Transport, (UALT), Abdul Amir Najdah, declared today that plans to hold a strike on February 10 remain unchanged despite the appointment of a new Prime Minister.We have not been in touch with anyone and no one has contacted us,” he said. Najdah said that the decision to strike is not influenced by political events, and that he is waiting for the Prime Minister designate to finish his consultations to form a new government before contacting him. “If he agrees to our demands we will call the strike off, and if he does not we will proceed.” In the meantime, the weekly increase in fuel prices is having a severe impact on the public transport sector, he said. “Public drivers now pay the impossible cost of LL60, 000 a day for fuel,” he said. “We met the outgoing Minister of Energy and Water and we informed him that we flatly reject his decision to reduce the cost of 20 liters of fuel by LL3,000, assuming that it is legal for him to take such measure.” The step is ludicrous as long as the price continues to climb each week. “Within three months or less the reduction would disappear. It would be surpassed by the weekly rise,” he said. Najdah said that the increase benefits not only the treasury but also the fuel companies. He said that it is important to end the practice of reviewing the price of fuel on weekly basis. Instead, the price should be a fixed one. The price of 20 liters of fuel for public transport should be set at LL25,000 regardless of the fluctuations in global oil prices. “When the price of oil exceeded $140 a barrel in 2008, the cost of 20 liters of fuel remained at LL27, 000,” he said.
Date Posted: Jan 27, 2011