Malawian truck drivers have asked government to back their demand for a K140,000 as the UK runs out of truck drivers. Both countries are fighting a fuel crisis. In Malawi, the crisis has been caused by a sit in of drivers for tankers.
Truck drivers have complained that despite government setting a minimum wage of K140,000, employees are not adhering to the directive as the drivers are still being paid K40,000.
The drivers are also concerned that they are required to present certificates of negative Covid-19 test every time they travel but they pay $50 (K40,000) to get tested.
Truck owners under Transporters Association of Malawi and Fuel Transporters Association of Malawi also joined the strike yesterday demanding government to stop giving the majority of contracts to foreign companies.
On Wednesday, some of the striking drivers were arrested by police officers.
The strike has led to shortage of fuel in filling stations across the country. Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) said yesterday that there is fuel in reserves and efforts were being made to address the fuel stockouts.
Following concerns over the fuel shortage, government last night reminded truck owners to comply with the K140,000 minimum wage for truck drivers
Government also gazetted a law reducing a 48-page passport fee for crossborder truck drivers from K120,000 to K60,000 while the Ministry of Health ordered that all truck drivers who cross borders should be testing for Covid-19 free of charge.
In the United Kingdom, there is a also shortage of 100,000 truck drivers. This has left many filling stations with no fuel, leading to panic buying and long queues.
To address the issue, transport companies have raised truck drivers’ salaries by over 25 percent and the government is offering 5000 three-month work visas to foreign truckers.