Coal truck drivers’ families threaten to go on hunger strike
The Mongolian Men’s Development Association (MMDA) and the Tavan Tolgoi coal transport drivers’ families have held a press conference on November 27. As of now, around 13,000 drivers of 160 companies are transporting coal from Tavan Tolgoi to Gashuun Sukhait.
Due to Mongolia’s goal to increase coal exports, there have been increased levels of traffic of coal trucks at the border, but due to low capacity and technological upgrades at the border, the line of trucks has elongated substantially.
Due to this, the drivers are under severe pressure and their mental state is deteriorating, according to their family. These drivers are transporting coal in the most difficult conditions to feed their families. There have also been frequent occurrences of alcohol addiction, increase in accidents and loss of lives.
The MMDA met with over 500 drivers and conducted a survey, which has found that the drivers have grown dependent on alcohol and are suffering from depression, bringing significant amounts of stress to their families. The association said that as opposed to making money, they are actually facing much loss and that this is not the problem of only the 13,000 drivers, but concerns 40,000 to 50,000 people. The MMDA concluded that the drivers are working in dangerous conditions and called on finding appropriate resolution to the issue.
The two groups also issued a demand to the government and mining companies that hired the drivers so that they are provided a decent accommodation and food as drivers often spend days in line to pass through the border.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was tasked with creating a consultation department to protect citizens' rights outside the border of Mongolia.
The groups demanded a response and initiative from the government by November 30, and threatened to carry out a hunger strike if their demands aren’t met.
‘..Drivers are under severe pressure and their mental state is