Employees from a trucking company at uMzimkhulu in south of KwaZulu Natal are calling on Premier Sihle Zikalala to intervene after they were allegedly fired by their employer.
The workers alleged that they were fired after complaining about working for weeks without resting, workers say they believe their workload has led to many crashes in the province in the past few months.
Workers’ representative Nathi Ngwenya says Zikalala should help to address the situation.
Ngwenya says, “We are pleading with the Premier of KwaZulu Natal Sihle Zikalala to assist us with this matter because there are so many accidents in our roads in KwaZulu Natal and throughout South Africa because of the matter of this nature. The drivers are not accorded enough time to rest and as the drivers we are not given enough time to rest we are working 12 or 16 hours on the road.”
“Whenever you try to rest you are phoned by the controller to tell you why are you stopping at that particular place,” adds Ngwenya.
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In July Foreign nationals working in the logistics industry in South Africa say they are being targeted despite meeting the requirements for their jobs. This as a recent truck strike persists.
Over 1 000 truck drivers abandoned their trucks across the country on Tuesday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers.
Various trucking associations say logistics firms are required to ensure that foreign employees have the relevant permits.
A truck driver from Zimbabwe has expressed concerns.
“Currently, I am a truck driver and since this issue started last year, most of the companies have stopped taking foreign drivers. I am very worried and it is quite tense because the situation is not good. I disagree with them saying some companies are employing only foreign national drivers because in this driving industry you can’t just get into a company. You get tested. If you fail, you fail, but if I got a job then I got it. It’s not about where you come from but how you got your job.”
However, the Road Freight Association (RFA) has dismissed claims that the majority of truck drivers employed in South Africa are foreigners.
RFA Chief Executive Gavin Kelly says logistics firms are required to ensure that foreign employees have the relevant permits.
Kelly says, “90 percent of employees are not foreigners. The percentage is somewhere around 10 percent of drivers are foreign nationals. The legally employed foreigners are protected and governed by the labour laws of the country. So if I have a foreigner from wherever, who has a work permit, has the correct driving license and requirements, then I have to pay that driver the minimum requirements of the bargaining council agreement.”
662 Truck drivers vow to continue with strike until demands are met: