Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) commuter omnibus drivers on Wednesday staged a sit-in in protest against salary arrears and poor working conditions.
The drivers say they are owed two months salaries and efforts to engage the company management has not been fruitful.
Commuters were stranded as only the Zupco buses were operating.
When a CITE news crew arrived at the depot, the drivers were milling outside the premises while the vehicles were parked inside the depot.
The drivers told this publication that they are paid ZWL$7000 per fortnight.
“As ZUPCO drivers we are not happy with how ZUPCO managers are treating us, it’s now two months without any pay, when we try to engage them, they tell us that we are not employed by ZUPCO and they do not have a contract with us, we have contracts with the vehicle owners,” said one driver.
“When we ask the owners, they tell us that ZUPCO has not paid them too, as we are the ones who look for this money, we saw it fit to not go to work so that they can discuss with our owners whether they are giving us money or what because we are now facing even challenges with our landlords.”
He said the drivers work long hours and knock off late “we queue for fuel up to 1 am, around 4 am they pick us to report for duty.”
The other driver said they are not clear with positions at ZUPCO as anyone can tell them what to do.
“Per day we make up to ZWL$18 000, but they are failing to pay our employer so that we can also get paid, but every day they complain that we are cashing in little money yet we are not even benefitting, we are now tired,” he said.
He said the managers who came to address them in the morning ordered them to return to work as commuters were stranded.
“They came here to tell us that the passengers are waiting, but because our children are now suffering we will only work if we receive our money,” he said.
Another driver added that the Division Operations Manager promised to pay them by 2 pm today but they vowed to never leave the premises before they receive their salaries.
“We are not going to work until 2 pm and we receive our money. We come to work as early as 3 am and knock off around 10 pm, thus unfair, we are told to not knock off before passengers are finished in the CBD, that is unfair,” he said.
The other drivers also complained of being harassed at work.
Contacted for a comment, ZUPCO Southern Region Manager, Tinaye Rwasoka’s phone rang unanswered, while ZUPCO’S marketing and public relations manager Sikhanyisiwe Ncube’s mobile number was not available to receive calls.