Satawu: Truck industry employers underpaying foreigners, dodging labour laws

Violence in the freight sector has escalated, with about 30 trucks torched in the past week in different parts of the country.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) on Wednesday accused some employers in the truck industry of underpaying foreign drivers to maximise their profits and avoid recruiting South Africans, in line with labour laws.

Violence in the freight sector has escalated, with about 30 trucks torched in the past week in different parts of the country.

A 45-year-old man was found dead in Alberton on Monday night after his truck was set alight. Many other drivers have been hospitalised.

The police said that the violence was believed to stem from foreigners being hired.

ALSO READ: SA truck drivers’ forum: Foreign nationals should not be hired as truck drivers

Satawu’s Jack Mazibuko said that retrenchments in the sector had made the situation worse, and many companies did not have money to pay standard salaries.

“The jobs that were occupied by the South Africans after the lockdown, a majority of them [drivers] have been retrenched. Unfortunately, when this process of retrenchment is taking place it’s only affecting the South African drivers because some of the employers are hoping to employ the foreign drivers, who some of them don’t have the necessary documentation,” Mazibuko said.

READ: At least 9 trucks set alight overnight on N3 highway near KZN

Mazibuko said that they had held talks through the bargaining council over the years, but now the Department of Employment and Labour needed to give direction.

“We are very much frustrated with the slow pace that the Department of Labour is addressing the issues and we haven’t got a concrete way forward with them,” he said.

Police said that they were following several leads that could lead to the arrest of those responsible.

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