Bus drivers block roads in protest over violence, working conditions

Bus drivers blocked the intersection of the government compound in Tel Aviv holding signs reading “Enough violence,” and “Drivers’ blood is not worthless,” as well as calling for a salary increase.

By
June 18, 2018 17:52
2 minute read.
Bus drivers block roads in protest over violence, working conditions

Bus drivers protest in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: BUS DRIVER'S UNION)

Some 150 bus drivers from various transportation companies across Israel blocked a major intersection in Tel Aviv on Monday, calling on the government to stop increasingly frequent incidents of violence against drivers and to improve the drivers’ working conditions.

During the demonstration, the bus drivers blocked the intersection of the government compound in Tel Aviv holding signs reading “Enough violence,” and “Drivers’ blood is not worthless,” as well as calling for a salary increase.

The demonstration, led by the Israeli bus drivers’ organization and the National Labor Federation, is the latest in a series of ongoing protests that have taken place in recent weeks.

Shimon Gabbay, a driver who was attacked near Afula several months ago, participated in the protest. In the incident, Gabbay was allegedly stabbed by two passengers and seriously wounded. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed the bus into the wall of a shop. Police arrested a 28-year-old man in connection with the attack.

“I came here today to sound the voice of all drivers who work around the clock and who are being hurt. I was attacked for no clear reason and there are many like me,” Gabbay said. “I call on the minister of transportation and all the relevant ministries to put an end to the reality in which the drivers are cannon fodder.”

Radwan Hamdan, a driver with the Afikim bus company who participated in the demonstration, asked: “Are we waiting for one of the drivers to be killed so that someone in the government will wake up? They promised us refreshment stations and we did not receive them. They promised to raise our wages and we did not receive them.”

Israel Ganon, the chairman of the bus drivers’ organization, said at the rally: “Hundreds of bus drivers from all the companies in Israel have left work and are united to fight the criminal violence against them. It is inconceivable that a small part of the citizens will continue to harm us and the government will not provide a proper solution. We’re fed up with the promises. We want deeds. It is time for someone to stop this snowball before it was too late. Today’s demonstration is another step in our just struggle. If necessary, we will stop all public transport and shut down the country.”

Last week, a driver with Metropolitan Mass Transit System was attacked in Tel Sheva, and a driver from Egged Taavura was attacked in Jerusalem.


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