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Nov 30, 2005

Dangriga bus drivers strike; management says money is missing

Reports from Dangriga tonight are that bus drivers for the Novelo’s company have launched a two-day strike in protest of poor working conditions and malfunctioning equipment. According to a group of approximately ten drivers working from the southern terminal, they have lodged numerous complaints with the receivership managing the bus company over broken windshields, bad brakes, and a need for essential mechanical parts for the vehicles. Via telephone, the drivers told News Five they will stage a sit-out until these issues are addressed by management. This afternoon General Manager for Novelo’s, Robert Garcia, confirmed to News Five that while runs to Dangriga were uninterrupted, several buses from the southern town remained parked at the Belize City terminal. According to Garcia, the situation is an internal matter as the drivers are reacting to control measures established by the company which dictate that any bus that is not financially sustaining itself will be taken off the road, a mandate which includes parts and maintenance. Garcia says studies conducted by administrators reveal that not all of the monies received by the Dangriga drivers are being handed over to management and the company is “not prepared to subsidise buses” that are bringing in monies far less than the amount tallied in the control measures. The G.M. declined to tell News Five how much each driver travelling between Belize and Dangriga are supposed to collect, but maintained that the persons involved have submitted sums substantially smaller than they can accept. As for scheduled runs tomorrow, Garcia tells News Five that if drivers do not show up for work, there are other members of staff on standby who will pick up the slack so that service can continue.

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