Transporters’ strike in Bangladesh against rising fuel prices throws life out of gear; government under pressure
Transporters and bus owners in Bangladesh have been on indefinite strike for two days, protesting against the recent steep hike in fuel prices and demanding the government to roll back the price hike and increase the bus fare
Transporters and bus owners in Bangladesh have been on indefinite strike for two days, protesting against the recent steep hike in fuel prices and demanding the government to roll back the price hike and increase the bus fare. The efforts by the government to end the strike remain unsuccessful so far.
The strike, which started on Friday and continued on Saturday, has thrown life out of gear as people struggle to reach their workstations, putting the government under pressure to break the deadlock.
The prices of petroleum products like diesel and kerosene have been hiked by as much as twenty percent earlier this week, prompting the transporters on Thursday to announce a nationwide indefinite strike starting from Friday.
Thousands of trucks and private buses that used to ferry most of the country’s factory workers among others came to halt on Friday, leaving people struggling across several districts and forcing them to pay more for alternate means. The pressure on railways and other government-owned buses increased multi-fold as desperate people rushed to whatever they could find to travel.
Another decision by the government that irked transporters was related to increasing in toll charged on two of key bridges in Capital Dhaka. While the government defended the hike, arguing it was raised after a gap of almost ten years, transporters called it “unjustified” as they had already incurred huge losses during the Covid lockdowns.
The Bangladesh Road Transport Workers' Federation and the Bangladesh Truck-Bus Owners' Association, the two unions that are leading the strike, have demanded rollback in hikes in fuel prices and toll charges.
Furthermore, given the increase in fuel prices over the past few months, they asked the government to revisit the fixed bus fares.
For months, the government avoided increasing prices of fuel despite the continued rise in global prices of petroleum. Resultantly, state-owned oil companies have now been incurring daily losses of over $2.4 million. The strike, if continued for long, would certainly affect the output of the country’s industries-- most of which are yet to overcome the Covid-19 shock--impacting the recovery efforts.