Taxi operators threatening those who don’t support strike

The Ministry of Transport and Mining says it is aware of a threat by some taxi and bus operators to engage in strike action as of today, but warned them against any attempt to stop those who do not support the proposed industrial action.

The ministry said it had not been formally notified of planned strike action, adding that it supported the constitutional right of “any and every Jamaican to peaceful and orderly protest”.

“However, there have been allegations of threats being made towards operators who will not support the decision to strike. There has been dialogue with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to ensure that no harm comes to those who oppose the notion.”

Following are excerpts of the statement by the Robert Montague-led Transport Ministry:

“The Ministry of Transport and Mining stands firmly against the violation of any person who refuses to participate, and strict measures will be taken against those who incite, support, or cause violence towards persons in any form.

“No pressure or threat should be made to any operator who wants to strike and protest peacefully, or to any person who wants to work and take workers and students to their destination. Persons should be free to do what they want to within the scope of the law.

“It is noted that the largest umbrella group of taxi operators, National Council of Taxi Associations (NCOTA), does not support the proposed strike. The Ministry of Transport and Mining therefore urges all taxi and bus operators to come out on Monday in service to the people of Jamaica.

“Additionally, there has been a noticeable trend of some transport operators threatening to strike at the beginning of school periods, such as the case in September 2019. This same threat now comes as students who will be sitting the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams are to return to school following the impact of COVID-19.

“The ministry condemns this action which threatens the future of young Jamaicans and urges these vital service providers not to let down the people of Jamaica but to continue to carry children who depend on them daily.

“It is said that, ‘Education is the poor man’s ladder to success.’ Therefore an appeal is being made to commuters to speak with their friendly bus and taxi operators and encourage them to be supportive and loyal to the country of Jamaica, even as the fight to recover from the effects of the coronavirus continues. This is not the time to cause trouble and confusion, but to come together to continue the work to fix the industry to make it a legacy and not just a means to an end.

“The Ministry of Transport and Mining is, as always, open to dialogue at the conference table and welcomes any suggestion put forward to advance the industry. The ministry remains cognisant of the need for team effort in making the transport sector the best it can be for the betterment of Jamaica.”

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