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Business News of Sunday, 15 July 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

NLC summons Finance Ministry, others over Aayalolo drivers’ unpaid salaries

The National Labour Commission (NLC) has summoned the management of the Quality Bus System, the Ministry of Finance, and two other ministries, over the unpaid salaries of the Aayalolo drivers.

Last week, the Commission directed the striking drivers to resume work, following a strike over their outstanding salaries.

In an interview with Citi News, the Executive Secretary of the NLC, Ofosu Asamoah said various stakeholders will arrive at a decision on Wednesday, after a meeting with the interested parties.

“Having identified their services as an essential service which when they go on strike or withdraw their services will bring hardship to the public, the strike was brought to a compulsory arbitration. They were given a date to appear before the Commission which they duly complied.

“At the Commission’s sitting last week and going through the submissions that have been made by both parties, we realized there was a need to bring in the Ministry of Transport, Finance and Local Government. We do not want to make an order that they are entitled to salaries, go and pay them so we are bringing all the parties involved so once the order is made, or an award is made with the arbitration, every party who is responsible will agree with this move.”

Having been originally touted as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), the QBS was rather introduced, following the inability of the government to provide dedicated lanes for the buses which had been a major selling point of the BRT.

It was revealed in July 2017 that after eight months of operation in the capital, the managers of the transport service were still making loses.

Last year, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development charged the newly-inaugurated Board of the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE), to investigate the circumstances under which the management of the Aayalolo buses accrued huge debts, particularly in relation to the purchase of fuel.

According to them, the Board must probe the structure and the mode of fuel distribution for the buses.

The situation has led to low patronage of the system resulting in the inability of the company to earn enough to cover operational costs.

Addressing the media after a tour of some bus terminals, the Chief Executive Officer of GAPTE, Sampson Gyamenah, admitted that low patronage of the bus service since the programme commenced in 2016 has kept the company in the red.

“We still have a long way to go to be able to break even. We are ramping up the number of passengers and that is the real challenge. When we started the patronage was very poor. In December, we were doing an average of 1, 400 passengers a day.”