Honduras transport workers started an indefinite strike on Monday to demand solutions to the multiple damages the sector is suffering amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including lack of work and financial help after almost six months of standstill due to the lockdown measures imposed by the government.
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In a statement, the Honduran Transportation Platform; the National Transportation Council; the Honduran Taxi Drivers Association (Ataxish); the Honduras Special Transportation Federation (Fetraseh); the Honduras Interurban and Urban Transportation Consortium; the Association of Taxi Transport Companies; the United Transport Association and the Association of Radio Taxi Companies assessed that "the government must guarantee investment and support the protection of jobs."
"The transportation sector generates more than 100.000 direct jobs from which 500.000 people directly benefit, considering the average family nucleus of 5 people per household; in the same way, many indirect jobs are generated, which makes the country's economy more dynamic," the joint statement explains.
As Honduras's government extended the curfew until September 13, the transport workers demand a subsidy taking into account that several people are under harass by financial institutions they have to pay to.
"Talking is how important agreements are reached for the good of the Honduran population that needs a safe and reliable transportation service."
Furthermore, the workers ask for a full reopening of the activity because the government has only allowed a limited amount of vehicles to resume circulating. These cars and buses can only carry a reduced number of passengers. The workers argue that this measure is "unfair" and stimulates competition and higher transportation charges.
The strike has disrupted traffic in several cities across the country, including the departments of Francisco Morazán, Comayagua, Atlántida, and Cortes and Colón. Moreover, the drivers blocked the crossing at kilometer 16 south of the capital Tegucigalpa. The road leads to the border with Nicaragua and El Salvador.
On the other hand, the Honduran Institute of Land Transport (IHTT) called for a dialogue with representatives of the sectors and called to stop the mobilizations. The institution said via Twitter that it would gradually increment the occupation of the transport unit, and that would issue a bonus for drivers as well as discounts at the petro stations.