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Still no $ for maxi Concessionaires
Maxi-taxi drivers are planning to take their protests to outside the Ministry of Education’s offices in San Fernando today if the Government fails to pay $20 million in outstanding salaries owed to them since March.
For the second day, president of the Association of Maxi Taxi School Transport Concessionaires of Trinidad Rodney Ramlogan led over 200 drivers in a protest outside the Public Service Transport Corporation terminal at Kings Wharf.
Ramlogan said even though Education Minister Anthony Garcia promised to clear outstanding arrears by September 14, they were still waiting for their monies.
“We are hearing rumours that the Government wants to put a fleet of school buses on the road and if that is true, how are they going to pay them? We are continuing our protests and we will go to the Ministry’s offices tomorrow (today). We are fed up with this disrespect,” Ramlogan said.
He also added that lawyers representing the drivers were waiting to sue the Government if their payment was not prepared.
“We will sue for breach of contract if the Government goes ahead and replaces us. We are open to talks and we want a system in place where we can get paid for the work we do. Our salaries should be paid on time on a fortnightly basis,” Ramlogan said.
Saying its been two years since their salaries became irregular, Ramlogan called on the Ministry to put systems in place to ensure that drivers are paid on time.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students were unable to get to school because of the strike by drivers.
Princes Town resident Reena Shah said, “Lots of children were waiting for transport to get to school in Princes Town and Tableland. This is affecting them terribly. They were begging for transport to get to school. Many of them had to return home because they were none.”
A source at the Education Ministry said there were discrepancies in the invoices which are submitted by PTSC on behalf of the drivers and this was causing delays in payment.
PTSC charges a management fee which is deducted from what is paid by the Ministry to the maxi taxi drivers.
“We are assessing all of the claims and this is taking some time. Right now we are processing documents and the drivers will be able to get paid soon,” the source said.
Minister in the Ministry of Education Dr Lovell Francis could not give an update on the maxi taxi issues and referred queries to Minister Garcia. However, he could not be reached for comment on his cellular phone.
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