ZUPCO female drivers denounce difficult working conditions Pindula News
Female bus drivers working for the state-owned Zimbabwe Passenger Company (ZUPCO) denounced the difficult working conditions in the public transport company.
Several conductors who spoke to TO QUOTE report working long hours and are therefore deprived of quality time with their families.
One of the female drivers interviewed by the publication revealed that they were exposed to crimes such as rape, as some bus drivers dropped them off in dangerous places at night, citing the poor road network.
A 23-year-old ZUPCO driver from the Emthunzini suburb of Bulawayo was gang raped and stripped of her belongings on her way to work around 2 a.m. in March 2021.
They must also endure the abuse of drivers and touts employed by suburban omnibus pirates who mock them.
Lizzy Dube (not her real name), said TO QUOTE that she was beaten by her male supervisor while on duty. Recounting his ordeal, Dube said:
Last year on July 13, 2020, I had a fight with my supervisor because he did not want to release me to see a doctor because I had reported before the service around 4 a.m. that I was not feeling well.
The procedure is if you don’t feel well you show up for work and then go home, so I followed the rules and regulations as expected.
My supervisor then added that I was not allowed to go because there was a shortage of drivers that day as some went to take their exams he said they were going to get someone to take over during the day, then I obeyed this and went on duty.
Around 11 a.m. my illness got worse I couldn’t do anything, I went back to report that my illness was getting worse, I couldn’t even issue tickets so I felt I would end up making mistakes but they insisted that all they want income and couldn’t go.
When I asked why my supervisor cared about income and not about my health, he replied, “Musikana uyu arikupretender kurwara, ukamuona achida kuenda early so akaba mari yecompany (She pretends to be sick because she wants to quit earlier because she stole money). I just kept silent because I didn’t want to cause any damage.
He started saying all the derogatory remarks by calling me a prostitute, but the driver also tried to explain to him that I was sick and that bothered him as well as he now had to open the door for the passengers, but the supervisor had insisted that I continue to work.
The supervisor came to my side and slapped me saying I had a problem before retaliating I spotted the other senior supervisor, approached him and told him about my problem but he also responded through ‘Vele usolo ngiyamazi uletemper ‘ (You know Solo has a bad temper).
While I was busy telling more, this Solo guy came back and beat me in front of the senior supervisor.
He then wrote a report that I had beaten him but, in all honesty, I was defending myself.
I was suspended for four months and went to hearings, but he went to the director and told him that the other conductors no longer gave him respect and he got a promotion two days after our fight. ZUPCO covered the whole problem and I lost my job.
Wilson Dube, deputy general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, said they were aware of ZUPCO female drivers’ grievances, but the bus company insisted they were well taken care of.