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Matatu Operators Issue Nationwide Strike Notice Over Covid-19 Restrictions

Commuters will from Tuesday, October 27, be stranded if the Matatu Operators Association makes good on a threat to strike over strict Covid-19 regulations in the sector.

Speaking to journalists on Sunday, Chairman of the Matatu Operators in the Nairobi Central Business District, Jamal Ibrahim said the strike will affect transport countrywide.

Citing strict passenger limit restrictions amid the pandemic, Jamal stated that the government had neglected the matatu industry.

“On Tuesday, across the country, all matatus must go on strike. I would like to tell our leaders, Hon Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, they have neglected our matatu industry, ” he said.

“When they visit places, they always talk about boda boda, they talk about bars and churches but they have forgotten the Matatu Industry. The reason we are striking on Tuesday is because of capacity. Since Covid-19 hit eight months ago, they have not addressed the matatu industry urging for the resumption of full capacity.”

He said that the government should relax Covid-19 restrictions in the matatu sector just like it had done to other industries as operators as suffering reduced revenue.

“Earlier, all local flights resumed normal seat capacity, churches have resumed operation, political rallies are back to normal as well as schools. So why have we been forgotten?” he added.

“We have written enough letters and where we have reached, we are forced to issue a strike notice.”

In March this year, as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid, the government directed 14-seater matatus to carry a maximum of eight passengers, 25-seaters to carry 15, buses whose sitting capacity is 30 and above to have 60 per cent sitting capacity.

Following the directive, most of the operators hiked fares to stay afloat.

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