The threat of a national shutdown of foreign truck drivers working in the industry may have been narrowly avoided after a memorandum was handed over to the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI) late Monday.
All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied South Africa (ATDF-ASA) said in a press release that the NBCRFLI has been given seven days to respond to ATDF-ASA’s grievances. The forum confirmed the closure had been suspended nationally pending an outcome.
Some protests took place across the country, with truck drivers blocking some highways.
Truck drivers threatened closure after protests aimed at stopping traffic on major routes. This was to spotlight the government to tackle “the use of foreign truck drivers by South African truck companies”.
“It is a common fact that we have hundreds of local truck drivers who are unemployed just because the foreigners have held those positions,” said ATDF Secretary General Sifiso Nyathi last week.
Members planned to march to negotiating councils and demand that “the entire freight industry should have zero percent foreigners”.
Other requirements included drivers without a valid work permit to be removed from trucks, and all trucks registered in South Africa may only be driven by South Africans.
South African truckers are also demanding a 15% salary increase.
ATDF Cape Town members delivered a memorandum to the port of Cape Town last Thursday.
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Zim truckers anxious
Legal representatives of the Zimbabwean Truckers Association try the leaders of the Operation Dudula (“Push Away”) movement to prevent them from intimidating and harassing foreigners – as soon as they can locate them.
Lawyer Simba Chitando told Moneyweb he had been ordered by the Zimbabwe Truckers Association to take legal action to “challenge the harassment of foreigners during Operation Dudula.”
Chitando said the association, their families and foreigners from other African countries have been harassed by the xenophobic violence.
The association wants the court to prohibit the organizers of Operation Dudula from harassing and intimidating its members and their families.
Zimbabwean truck drivers working in South Africa say they suffered years of xenophobic abuse, in which 200 of their colleagues were killed.
They have pointed the finger at the ATDF, among others.
According to the Road Freight Association, of the approximately 63,000 truck drivers in South Africa, only 10% are foreign.