Transport strike in Bangladesh

BBN file photo

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s transport workers are set to enforce a 48-hour strike from Sunday morning to press for a set of demands, including an amendment to the Road Transport Act (RTA) 2018.

Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation made the announcement at a rally outside the National Press Club in Dhaka on Saturday.

However, various quarters, including the business community, have opposed such strike that cripples the country and make people suffer.

The federation blamed the government for not sitting with transport workers to meet their eight-point demand.
The workers decided to refrain from driving all types of buses and goods vehicles countrywide during the strike that will end on October 31.

Bangladesh National Parliament passed the RTA on September 19.

Since then, transport owners and workers have been opposing the sections that entail punishment and fine for wrong driving, overloading and minimum academic qualification for a driving licence.

Osman Ali, general secretary of the federation, said they objected to non-bailable offence against drivers and BDT 500,000 in fines to be paid if it is proven.

But it is not possible for the drivers to pay the hefty fine, he added.

He said the stipulation of educational qualification for drivers will heighten public sufferings as the country lacks adequate skilled drivers.

Offence against drivers and transport owners for overloading is unfair as none of them are involved with the process, Mr Ali alleged.

“We’ve called the strike as our demands are not reflected in the RTA and the government doesn’t feel the necessity to sit with us.” he noted.

Earlier on October 12, it decided to go on a two-day stoppage from October 28 if their demands are not met by October 27.

On the other hand, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at a press conference on Tuesday said there was no question of amending the law within the tenure of the government as only a few days were left of the parliament’s last session.

Mr. Obaidul, also general secretary of the ruling Awami League, said the law had been enacted after three years of discussions with transport leaders.

Earlier this month, Bangladesh Goods Transport Owners Workers United Association called an indefinite work abstention in Dhaka division over their seven-point demand, including bringing amendments to the Act.

However, three days into the absentation, the organisation however, postponed their programme until October 31 after the Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal assured its leaders of considering their demands.