Bus Drivers Cry Out Over Exploitative Bosses

Bus drivers in Uganda, under the umbrella body Uganda Bus Drivers Association (UBDA), have expressed their grievances regarding exploitation by their employers.

Some drivers claimed that despite working for bus companies for more than 20 years, they have not received any contributions to their National Social Security Fund (NSSF) accounts.

Whenever they raise concerns about their NSSF money, they are threatened with dismissal from their jobs. The drivers, led by UBDA chairman Ibrahim Kayondo, met with Commissioner for Transport Regulations and Road Safety, Winston Katushabe, at the Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) to discuss their issues.

They requested the ministry to develop a uniform appointment letter for all drivers and raised concerns about the lack of a minimum wage, delayed salaries, and expired badges. The drivers also highlighted the challenges they face in meeting their financial responsibilities, such as school fees for their children.

“People come here and you renew their licenses yet they are not asked to explain their employees’ working conditions. We don’t have formal appointment letters. We request you to design an appointment letter that must be followed by all bus owners even though the salary scale might be different,” a bus driver who preferred anonymity said.

One of the drivers argued that despite driving buses valued at over Shillings 700 million, they don’t lack financial security for their families. Katushabe assured the drivers that he would raise their concerns during a meeting with bus owners.

He also urged them to ensure they have legitimate documents, such as national identification cards, with accurate personal details.

The drivers also voiced concerns about the behavior of traffic officers, who sometimes stop buses at narrow spots, posing risks to passengers and other road users. Katushabe promised to address this issue and ensure that the leaders of traffic officers listen and respond to the drivers’ concerns.

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