Certain bus companies have a bailor ‑ bailee relationship with their drivers where the driver is paid an extremely low salary but is allowed to take a certain percentage of the day’s earnings.
Attorney General and Minister of Economy Aiyaz Sayed‑Khaiyum revealed this in a press conference in Lautoka.
Sayed‑Khaiyum says a case has been brought to the Ministry of Labour where, for almost 10 years, a bus driver was being paid a low salary but was allowed to take a certain percentage of the day’s takings however, his FNPF was not deducted, he did not get meal allowances, holiday leave or sick leave.
He says the operator had an agreement with the driver to run the bus, make as much money as possible and give the operator a certain amount of money and at the end of the week or day and whatever money is made on top of that would belong to the driver.
The Attorney General says as a result of this the bus drivers lost out so they had to make illegal runs.
Sayed‑Khaiyum says as announced in the budget, the fares that have been published are the regulated fares but bus companies can charge less if they want to, but they will have to go through E-ticketing.
He says they can change the pricing on the stages as long as they don’t go any higher than the stated amounts.
The Attorney‑General urged all bus companies to ensure they pay the correct salary and they need to ensure drivers no longer have the ability to take funds out and that they are paid overtime, FNPF, meal allowance and the market rates.
Meanwhile, an 8‑member independent committee has been announced to review the bus fares in the country.
Sayed‑Khaiyum says the committee will review the bus fares with a view to looking at a reduction.
They are expected to hold consultations around the country.
The aim is to announce the new bus fares in the new year.Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.