Drivers Threaten Nationwide Strike

Executives of the Ghana Committed Drivers Association have declared their intention to embark on a nationwide strike if government does not review the 500 percent increase in insurance premium.

The association, which has over 500 members nationwide drawn from the Ghana Private Transport Union(GPRTU), Progressive Transport Owners Association(PROTOA),Trailer Drivers Union, among others, gave the warning at a press conference held at the Obra Square, Accra last Wednesday.

The aggrieved drivers described the increment as harsh and a cut-throat decision by government to collapse their business.

They warned that if government does not respond to their call to review the insurance premium by March 14, 2016, they will equally call on their members to embark on a nationwide strike.

Addressing the media, chairman of the Ghana Committed Drivers Association (GCDA), Charles Danso narrated that the announcement of the 500 percent increase in insurance premium came to them as a surprise.

He stated that with the current rate, taxi drivers, who used to pay GH¢71 for insurance, will now pay GH¢365 while drivers of Sprinter buses, who used to pay GH¢90 now pay a premium of GH¢550.

Drivers of articulated trucks in the past paid GH¢120, but will now pay GH¢865.

He said it would be difficult to pass the cost onto passengers, describing the increment as “evil, wicked’ and unwarranted.

Mr. Danso explained that earlier negotiations the various unions held with the Ghana Insurance Commission, the Ministry of Transport and that of Finance further proved their case that government had a hand in the increment of insurance premium.

According to the Chairman, the Insurance Commission indicated that it wanted 800 percent increment.

He said that this was contrary to what the President said at Kasoa that he will do something about it since he knew nothing about the increment in insurance premium.

The chairman further indicated that it was unfortunate that one month after the statement, the President continues to ignore their concerns.

Vice President of the Association, Prince Amankwa urged vehicle owners to cooperate with the association by allowing the drivers to join the strike action next week Monday.

He bemoaned the frustrations drivers go through when making claims for insurance, adding that some members had applied for insurance from neighbouring countries where it is also cheaper.

By Solomon Ofori

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