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Truck drivers’ forum proposes shutdown

Truck drivers threaten national shutdown on Monday

Unless something positive comes from the government, it’s all systems go for a planned national shutdown on Monday.

This was according to the All Truck Drivers’ Forum and Allied South Africa (ATDF ASA) national secretary-general Gugu Sokhela, who said the government continues to flout its labour policies when it comes to the employment of foreign nationals in the freight industry.

Sokhela said all possible mechanisms to avert the situation of a national shutdown through the joint inspection task team came to a halt since the start of negotiations in 2022, necessitating a go-ahead.

Sokhela said among the work the task team undertook to assist the government was the workplace joint inspection co-ordinated by the Department of Employment and Labour, the Department of Home Affairs, the National Bargaining Council for Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI), the Department of Transport, SAPS, and the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI).

“When conducting operations on the road, a joint operation at Mkhondeni Weighbridge resulted in a total of 108 trucks [stopped], of which 27 were [driven by] foreign nationals.

“Only 42 drivers were registered with UIF and 31 were not registered,” said Sokhela.

He said these were some of the practical examples not taken in high regard by the government as they have a ‘conflict of interest’ and exploit truck operators for cheap labour, abusing their human rights.

“We wish to see all national roads [coming to] a standstill. This is now above us as the leadership because our members are accusing us of having tea with the government instead of putting across their interests, as they have given us that mandate,” said Sokhela.

KZN Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said they were not aware of any industrial action, however, the department working with the police will be on high alert.

“We do not take this lightly. Should there be any destruction of the N3, which leads to two major ports, [perpetrators] will be dealt with harshly,” said Ncalane.

He said there are currently people appearing in court for illegal trucking action similar to the one proposed by the ATDF ASA, saying there were laws governing the country when it comes to embarking on industrial action.

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