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Zupco workers worried

by Staff reporter
21 Mar 2020 at 06:15hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) workers has called for improvement of working conditions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national disaster and called for strict measures to contain the spread of the virus.

President Mnangagwa in his speech on Tuesday said gatherings of more than 100 people, including those for purposes of worship and weddings stand suspended for the next 60 days after which the suspension will be reviewed.

A ZUPCO driver who plies the CBD-UZ route Johannes Gezi said they were bound to do their job which is to transport the commuters no matter the situation but they were at risk since there were no sanitizers at ranks and in the buses while they ferry more than 100 people in most cases.

"I ferry 80-85 passengers but some go to 100 to meet their targets. We heard about the new development but there is nothing we can do. All the people you are seeing outside want to go to their respective destinations and my job is to take them there," he said.

Asked if he had any information about the virus, Gezi said:

"We are just hearing people talking about it. We don't have an idea on how we are going to avoid it. We work with the public day in day out.

"Like now that they are getting into the bus; we don't have any hand sanitizers; we don't have anything to keep us safe from this virus but we still just have to work. There is no way we can run away from it."

He said he always moves around with a tablet of soap that he uses to wash his hands after work.

He also believes there is need for the ministry of healthy to educate the masses.
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"I think the Ministry of health has to chip in and do awareness in our buses because most of us we don't have enough information of what is really happening out there since we spend most of our time on the road."

Another driver who spoke on condition of anonymity said:

"We are just trying to make a living here. We are afraid that if there is an outbreak in Zimbabwe we will be the first to be affected because we don't have protective measures. We are just going to pray because we don't know who has it and who doesn't."

A ZUPCO conductor said they would appreciate if they get hand sanitizers to use before and after they have collected the bus fares.

"The money is being exchanged as usual; we haven't changed our operations so maybe we would want to have some sanitizers."

Meanwhile, some commuters have called on the government to increase the number of ZUPCO buses.

They believe once there are enough buses they will be able to maintain the hygiene being called for by the president.

"Maconductor acho anga achitoti itai back to back munhu wese akwane mubhazi, tatouya takapirana musana," said a commuter who spoke on condition of anonymity

"We will be more than 100. That's why we are asking for more buses because I know we will just be less than 80 sitting passengers.

"Once we have more busses there won't be any problem. Just like how the commuter omnibuses operate. Munhu anongosvika opinda mubhazi hapasisina zvekuita pressure."

Source - hmetro