Rwandan spouses of truck drivers and commuter taxis have appealed to the government and other stakeholders, for the respect of their husbands’ rights in the profession.
The women who have since grouped into an association called Association des Epouses des Chauffeurs (AEC-Duhugurane) yesterday met with different officials from the government and other institutions to discuss the issue and come up with appropriate solutions.
The meeting that was convened in Kigali was an opportunity for AEC Duhugurane members to air their fears should nothing change in the status of their husbands in their profession as drivers.
The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, said the most pressing issue is to solve the problem of insurance for drivers and their families so as to prepare a better future for their children.
“Insuring your workers is not a favour, it is their right,” she noted, adding that when they are not covered for their job, this affects the whole family and so becomes a handicap to their development.
Mujawamariya also explained that having no contracts prevents the drivers from being paid fairly, and that drivers don’t pay taxes because their salaries are not formalised, a fact that affects the country’s growth as well.
It was disclosed during the meeting that drivers don’t have any insurance for their profession, on top of not having contracts with their bosses or shares in the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (CSR).
Speaking on behalf of drivers’ wives, Mariam Murorunkwere said their wish is to see their husbands’ rights respected as other employees in the country.
“Businessmen give value to their merchandise, but it looks like our husbands are not valued for their jobs,” she said, commenting on their husbands’ not being insured.
Murorunkwere, who is the chairperson of the association, was resolute that RURA (Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency) should not be allowing people to start business in transport before providing insurance for their employees.
But transporters say it was not their fault that the drivers’ rights were not respected. Trygoal Sabbas, an investor in transport also present at the meeting, explained there has never been such coordination in the sector so as to end the chaos.
“No constant salaries, no mission fees, no fixed prices, everything is being done through an informal arrangement between the driver and the boss,” he lamented, saying the move by the women’s association was a good step to help them standardise the industry.
AEC Duhugurane was set up in 2003 by women whose husbands were drivers of heavy commercial trucks. It was slowly joined by taxis and commuter taxis drivers’ wives, and currently counts 1,223 members countrywide.