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Drivers threaten strike over daytime delivery ban

Nocturnal working hours since the new transport rules came into force Sunday have forced drivers “to move beyond human nature and live in a manner that could risk the loss of good health”. 



Goods vehicle drivers have threatened to go on strike in protest against a ban on daytime delivery within Malé City.

A group of drivers told the economic development ministry in a letter Wednesday that nocturnal working hours have forced them “to move beyond human nature and live in a manner that could risk the loss of good health”.

Calling for the ministry to scrap the regulations, the lorry and pickup drivers said they will exercise their constitutional right to strike unless concerns are addressed, local media reported. 

The drivers’ appeal came after dockworkers at the Malé port staged a short-lived strike and doubled their fees when the ban came into force on April 1.

The government reacted Wednesday by capping their rates.

The move came after the economic development minister threatened to “open up” or take over cargo unloading services as measures to avert market prices increases.

At a press briefing Tuesday, Mohamed Saeed also threatened measures targeting lorry drivers if they charge higher fees for deliveries at night. But there have been no reports of increases, he noted.

Listing their grievances in Wednesday’s letter, the drivers accused the government of subjecting them to traffic fines as Malé lacks enough parking space for four-wheeled vehicles during the day.

The government says the daytime goods transport ban is necessary to ease traffic congestion in the 2.2-square mile capital island.