Commercial drivers suspend strike over high fuel costs in Ghana

Stranded commuters ghana
Stranded commuters in Ghana

Commercial transport drivers in Ghana have suspended the biting strike early Monday morning which left thousands of commuters stranded at bus stations.

A statement issued and signed by Godfred Abulbire, the general secretary of the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU), said “the intended strike action which was scheduled to take effect today Monday (6 December) has been suspended.

“We, therefore, entreat our cherished members to go back to their normal duties,” the statement added as the drivers prepare to hold talks with the Office of the President.

Drivers union representatives had earlier on Monday said the strike would be indefinite until the government scrapped some taxes on fuel to help reduce costs at the pumps.

The West Africa nation has seven fuel taxes, which is currently priced at $1.13 a litre nationwide. Stranded passengers were hopping into the backs of pick-up trucks, travelling with private drivers or even walking to get to their destinations.

“It’s complete hell. I’ve been at this bus stop with my two children since 6 am and it’s now 8 am and I’m still here,” said Vivian Tamatey, a 35-year-old office secretary in the capital Accra.

“I have no option than to call my boss and let him know that I can’t come to work today or I’ll be terribly late. How do I even send my kids to school?”

Transport was also affected in Ho in the Volta Region, Koforidua in the Eastern Region and Tamale in the Northern Region, according to an AFP correspondent who spoke with commuters there.

Drivers later said they would suspend the strike as the presidency had invited them to talks over the protest, though it was not clear whether they would reach a deal by Monday.

Drivers’ representatives had urged Ghanaians to show solidarity and said they had no choice but to strike to force the government to act.

“We know the pains this strike will cause Ghanaians but it’s a necessary evil,” the head of communication of the striking drivers, Abass Imoro, told AFP on Monday.

Commercial transport in Ghana, popularly known as “tro tros” — minibus shared taxis — are operated by private drivers and represented by the Coalition of Private Road Transport Commercial Operators Union comprising more than nine driver associations.

“I’ve done approximately four 4 kilometres of walk already and I can’t even bear with the sweat,” said Baba Musah, a trader in the capital’s Central Business District. “I’m even wondering when I’ll get to work and how to even return home.”

Source: Daily Mail GH

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