St Lucia: Bus Drivers Strike Over COVID Protocols

(ST LUCIA TIMES) – Vieux Fort bus drivers made good Monday on a promise to go on strike over existing COVID-19 protocols for the public transport sector.

And Gros Islet bus drivers have joined the strike.

“We are standing in solidarity with our fellow bus drivers from Vieux Fort,” the President of the Gros Islet Minibus Association, Danny Edward, told St Lucia Times.

Edward explained that bus drivers were restricted to ten passengers on the basis that they were not complying with protocols.

The COVID-19 protocol also included a requirement for passengers to wear masks and sanitise their hands before entering.

Edward expressed the view that bus drivers are now in compliance.

“On that basis we should be getting our fifteen passengers,” Edward declared.

“We are upholding the protocols, especially when it comes to Gros Islet – it costs us over $900 a week in upholding these protocols, so I think we should get some relief right now,” the Gros Islet Bus Association official said.

Edward observed that the bus drivers have been losing money from March.

As a result, he asserted that going on strike for a few days would not do them anything.

“You need to fight for some things. We have waited – it’s now ten months into COVID – we have gotten no support, no relief, now it’s time for us to take some form of action so we can be heard,” Edward told St Lucia Times.

He said the bus drivers are willing to continue their strike for as long as it takes to get a ‘sit down’ with the authorities to address the concerns of the protesters.

Godfrey Ferdinand, the President of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT), was meeting with Transport Minister, Guy Joseph, Monday morning amid reports that the bus drivers strike was expanding.

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