The Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation yesterday announced that it will enforce a two-day work abstention next week if their eight-point demand, including bringing amendments to the Road Transport Act, 2018, is not met.
Osman Ali, general secretary of the federation, made the announcement while speaking at a meeting of their Khulna division committee in Jashore.
Talking to The Daily Star last night, Osman said they had made the decision to boycott work on October 28-29 at a meeting of their central committee on October 12.
However, addressing another programme in the capital yesterday, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, who is the executive president of the federation, lauded the Road Transport Act and did not say anything about the October 12 meeting.
“This Act is a time-befitting law,” he said while speaking at a discussion on National Road Safety Day held at Krishibid Institute.
“Some are in favour of the law, while others are against it. Some are obeying, while others are disobeying. But, some important sections were incorporated in the law,” he said.
In Jashore, Osman Ali, however, said they would abstain from work if the government did not meet their demands by October 27.
Their demands include making all offences under the Act “bailable”, cancellation of the provision that allows a worker to be fined Tk 5 lakh for involvement in a road accident, changing minimum educational qualification from class-VIII to class-V for getting driving licences, and stopping police harassment on roads, he added.
Earlier this month, Bangladesh Goods Transport Owners Workers United Association announced a three-day work abstention in Dhaka division to press home their seven-point demand, including bringing amendments to the Act.
The organisation, however, postponed their programme until October 31 after Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal assured its leaders of considering their demands.
The House on September 19 passed the much-anticipated Road Transport Act, 2018, amid criticism for lenient punishment for deaths caused by reckless driving.
According to the new law, if anybody causes an accident by reckless or negligent driving and kills or injures someone seriously, they would face a maximum five years' imprisonment or a fine of Tk 5 lakh or both.