Tanker drivers’ boss resigns

….I can’t be part of members who don’t appreciate Govt’s effort

IN a dramatic turn of events, Zambia Union of Tanker Driver Allied Workers (ZUTDAW) vice president Hyback Mwanza has resigned from his position because he did not want to be part of his members who wanted to protest and cause another fuel crisis in Lusaka following a failed meeting on Wednesday last week, a fortnight after drivers protested alleged poor conditions of service and mistreatment.

Mr. Mwanza told the Daily Nation yesterday that he tendered his resignation on Friday last week over alleged mounting pressure from other members of the union who wanted to organise the drivers to go on another sit-in protest.

He explained that after the meeting with the officials from the Ministries of Energy and Water Development and Labour failed to take place on Wednesday due to the unavailability of representatives from Energy Regulations Board (ERB) and the Ministry of Energy, other members decided to go for a protest, to which he opposed.

Mr Mwanza explained that it did not make sense to him that members could agitate for a protest as though government had refused to meet them when it had promised them that it would address all the issue raised two weeks ago during the meeting with drivers.

He said he had decided to resign on moral grounds because he could not manage to work with people who never appreciated what government was doing for them in addressing the challenges that the tanker drivers had highlighted during the meeting.

Mr Mwanza said he did not see the need to for anyone to be jittery over the failed meeting because government had not put it off completely but just rescheduled it to this Friday because some stakeholders were not present.

“I tendered my resignation last Friday because I cannot work with people who are not grateful to what government is doing for them over their grievances. We were supposed to have a meeting on Wednesday last week with the labour commission but because some officials from ERB did not turn up, the meeting was rescheduled to this Friday.

“However, some people started agitating that we needed to mobilise the drivers and tell them to protest but for me, which was not the best thing to do especially that government was ready to dialogue with us. Because of this agitation, I just decided to resign because I cannot be party to people who have no regard for government,” Mr. Mwanza said.

Meanwhile, Lusaka branch chairperson Humphrey Kapesha said the tanker drivers would  only down tools if no headways were made when the union meets with the ministries this Friday.

Mr. Kapesha said the union had agreed to give government time to address the issues earlier raised by the drivers as promised and will only be forced to protest if the outcome did not meet their aspirations.

“Everything is running smoothly, we have not stopped work because we are waiting for the meeting which has been rescheduled to this Friday because some stakeholders did not make it last week. If our meeting will not be successful, then that is when we shall consider other alternatives,” Mr. Kapesha said.