Saturday 19 October, 2019

PSVs not racing to support national shutdown with unions

PSVs and route taxis in River van stand (File Photo)

PSVs and route taxis in River van stand (File Photo)

The Heads of two public service vehicle (PSV) associations are still deciding whether or not they will support a national shutdown if the major trade unions on island take that step in response to the new taxes.

The threats have been heard but both private sector entities - the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) and the Alliance of Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), but they are not hopping aboard without careful thought.

“We have not made that decision because obviously the unions have not supported the industry to the extent that they deserve to get support…

“The unions really have not given the industry support in any meaningful way, so we are treading very cautiously where that is concerned. It has not been fully ventilated at executive level as yet, but we understand the plight of the unions because the budget, the austerity is historically tough, and we have not been exempted from it in any way.” 

Furthermore, the President of Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) Morris Lee said that the PSV operators have been hit by the new measures as well and have for decades seen their concerns go unaddressed.

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“We have been hit very hard by this budget and in terms of fuel, it is costing operators $15 000 a year more. We’ve never had any duty-free concessions and we have been asking for those for the last 25 years, and we’ve been asking for better conditions for the workers to operate from in the bus terminals for the last 35 years and the terminals still remain in a very poor state, and obviously the workers that belong to these unions travel on these buses.”

Meanwhile, the Head of the Alliance of Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael said that they too are yet to make a decision.

In terms of the national shutdown being hinted at by the unions, he said, “We have not made the decision as a body as yet.”

Raphael said that they now have to meet with their constituents to discuss, especially because he knows usually Transport Board is involved when there is a shutdown at the national level, and “the fact that if the PSVs are involved it will create a big issue for commuters trying to get from one destination to the next.”

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