The trucking industry in the country has been operating under chaotic and unpredictable conditions following tensions in the industry caused by truck drivers.
The local truck drivers have been demanding to be prioritised by freight companies, instead of foreign nationals.
Following a meeting comprising the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and various other stakeholders, a resolution was met and agreed upon to ease ongoing tensions.
This signed agreement was welcomed by The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU).
“The truck drivers have been repeatedly striking with no solutions,”
SATAWU Head of Communications, Amanda Tshemese
Recently the truck drivers protested and closed the N3 highway in KwaZulu-Natal.
“SATAWU notes that the truck drivers who were on strike were not happy about the foreign nationals being given first preference while South African Drivers are left unemployed and overlooked by the freight companies, Tshemese highlighted.
“SATAWU is of the view that with the high rate of unemployment in this country, South African citizens must and should be given priority in all the sectors, as that will help reduce the high rate of unemployment that we are currently facing,” she added.
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TRUCKING INDUSTRY PLAN FOR LOCAL TRUCK DRIVERS
As SETAWU welcomed the plan, they still called for a swift implementation of the following:
• Appointment of task team for trucking industry
• Enforcement of the Visa requirements
• Need for consideration of all foreign driving licenses
• Registration and compliance with South African labour laws
• Registration of operators in term of Section 45 of the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA)
• Review of the Traffic Register Number
• Amendment of the National Road Traffic Regulation
• Integrated joint multi-disciplinary law enforcement operations to end violence and blockages
on national roads
• Implement Driver Training Programme and
• Consideration of the introduction of Operating Licenses for the industry
“SATAWU believes that the freight sector plays a huge role in the country’s economy and therefore having truck drivers protesting has a negative impact on it. Furthermore, we stress the need for freight companies to prioritise eligible South African workers,” Tshemese explained.
She mentioned that earlier on in the year, the Department of Employment and Labour (DoEL) released a draft policy on National Labour Migration Policy and Employment Services Amendment Bill in which they supported the notion that a quota system should be implemented in the industry.
“We further reiterate this stance, as an absence of such a regulatory mechanism will result in the continuation of the chaotic state of affairs in the sector in particular, and in the economy as a whole,” Tshemese concluded.