–Islamabad admin, Metro Bus drivers hold successful negotiations to end protest
ISLAMABAD: Drivers of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro Bus service called off their strike on Saturday after holding negotiations with the capital’s administration and political leaders.
On Friday, the bus service remained closed as the drivers went on a strike against the non-payment of their salaries apart from the deduction of fines from their meagre wages. Over 110,000 people, who travel on various routes of the bus, were affected due to the strike.
According to details, the bus drivers have now ended their protest, saying that the administration has vowed to fulfil their demands. If the demands are not met within the next three days, the strike will be resumed, they warned.
The Islamabad deputy commissioner and a representative of the drivers held a meeting on Friday night. “There was an issue of drivers of Metro with their own management. The metro service was halted for a few hours. We intervened. Negotiations successful and the issue is resolved now,” the Islamabad deputy commissioner said on Twitter.
There was a issue of drivers of Metro with their own management. The metro service was halted for a few hours. We intervened. Negotiations successful and the issue is resolved now.
— Deputy Commissioner Islamabad (@dcislamabad) February 1, 2019
The Metro Bus drivers demanded a reduction in their duty hours, from 12 hours to eight hours, and an increase in their salaries. They said they earn only Rs25,000 a month but are heavily penalised over small shortcomings.
One driver said if an indicator breaks, they are penalised and not paid their wages for two days.
During Friday’s protest, the drivers parked the buses at the Pakistan Secretariat Station. They announced a shutdown of the service until their demands are met.
The drivers also threatened to halt the service permanently if the government and management do not release their salaries.
They carried banners which were inscribed with slogans against management and related higher officials in the authority.
Passengers arrived at the stations on Friday but staff refused to issue them tickets. Those who had bus cards went as far as the platforms and their fare was also deducted by the automated punch machines.
Public transport was not available from Murree Road to Islamabad and many people had to get taxis and rickshaws to Faizabad from where they got on a wagon to Islamabad.
Commuters also faced problems coming back to Rawalpindi and taking advantage of the situation, taxi drivers were also charging more than the usual rate.
Passengers demanded the Punjab government conduct an inquiry into how financial problems had started in the authority which resulted in the non-payment of salaries and made management cut fines from drivers’ salaries.