UDART buses ply Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) roads designed to ease commuting for Dar es Salaam residents and thereby help in decongesting the city’s road network.
Although the BRT infrastructure belongs to the government, UDART is a joint venture between two partners – Usafiri Dar es Salaam (UDA) and UWAMADAR, a union of city commuter bus owners. The government, however, is a minority shareholder in UDA.
According to the contract, the monthly basic salary is Sh400, 000 while another Sh400,000 is in the form of various bonuses.
Additionally, the contract has a six-month probation period.
The drivers however are unhappy with the contingent bonus of Sh400,000, saying it is apparent that the company does not intent to fulfill this end of the bargain.
Drivers who, prior to joining UDART were with UDA, whose subsidiary is the one charged with enforcing the contracts, point out that a similar condition applied in their UDA contracts but add that not a single driver was ever paid a cent of the so-called bonus to date.
“UDA drivers were given contracts which showed that their monthly basic pay was Sh150,000 while Sh200,000 would be bonus. However, up to now no driver has ever been paid even a fraction of the promised bonus,” one of the drivers commented.
Moreover, drivers who talked to The Guardian this week claimed that these new terms were contrary to an earlier pledge by the UDA management which, according to them, the monthly basic pay was to have been Sh800,000 and not Sh400,000 as currently spelt out in the contracts.
They say that they have been given a raw deal and call for President John Magufuli’s intervention to enable them get decent job contracts which do not pose a threat to their employment.
The contracts also direct drivers to have defensive driving skills that will help them avoid minor accidents. This, according to one of the terms of the contract, attracts 30 points which are worth Sh120,000 in cash bonus.
“Drivers should drive in a way that saves fuel to get five points on every litre of fuel saved in order to get a maximum of 10 points that attract a Sh40,000 bonus,” the contract reads in part.
UDART drivers who spoke to The Guardian raised concern, saying the stipulated conditions were so many and rigid that they aimed at one objective: To deny them the bonus.
“We are very disappointed and dissatisfied because a Sh400,000 monthly salary after deductions is very little compared to rigors of our job,” the UDART drivers said.
The contracts also stress punctuality on their routes from one stop to another.
There should not be delays or earlier departures than the designated time of five minutes. Punctuality will attract a Sh100,000 bonus.
Others driver responsibilities in the contracts involve cleanliness of the bus (Sh60,000 bonus).
“A driver who fails to meet the provisions of the contract will have his probation extended to three months or be relieved of his duties” reads the contract in part.
However, the drivers have demanded to have a word with the government, especially regarding the directive in the contract which requires them to surrender their original driving licences to the company’s management.
They question the legality of their employer to force them to surrender their licences, arguing that the document was their personal property.
“Submitting our original driving licences to the employer will make it hard for us to drive other vehicles while off duty,” John Isaac (not his real name) said.
The drivers have also expressed apprehension about the duration of the contracts, saying it was quite different from the job advertisement in said that they were to be employed on a permanent basis, but the term had abruptly been changed to one-year contracts.
The story about the plight UDART drivers were facing was first broke by our sister paper, Guardian on Sunday, last Sunday. Following publication of the story the UDART management hurriedly issued them with employment contracts. Prior to that they had been serving as casual workers being paid a Sh10,000 daily wage.
On Monday UDART Managing Director David Mgwasa told a press conference in Dar es Salaam that a driver’s salary would be divided into two areas.
“Sh. 400,000 will be the basic salaries and the remaining Sh.400,000 will be paid as bonus according to one’s performance,” he had said.
The drivers had however faulted Mgwassa’s statement, pointing out that a similar promise had been given by the UDA management to its new drivers some few years back, but the pledge had never been fulfilled.