Immigrant drivers faced with layoffs at one of the biggest trucking companies in South Africa have obtained a court interdict to stop their employer from firing them as from 1 October 2019.
As requested by the firm, SA Trucker has decided to omit the name of the company.
All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) met with the owners of the firm sometime last month after forcefully taking about 200 of their trucks off the road.
SA Trucker shared videos of jubilant ATDF members detaining the trucks in Steelport a few weeks ago.
After refusing to release the trucks for three days, a meeting was arranged with the company’s management.
In that meeting ATDF demanded that the firm releases all immigrant drivers and hire locals.
“I explained to them that it was not possible because it went against the rights of the targetted employees but they would not listen,” said one of the company’s managers, we will not publish his name as requested.
“We however, had to explore other means to address their requests because we did not want our business to suffer, and we decided to retrench the affected staff,” he added.
After being served with retrenchment notices, the immigrant drivers approached the labour court to halt the move.
Lawyers representing the immigrant drivers and the trucking firm battled it out in court on Monday in their bid to convince the judge to rule in their favour.
The immigrant drivers said the move would not help address the realities affecting the trucking industry and “will further burden the economy and deter investment” if segregation against immigrants continues.
Granting an interdict against the intended retrenchments, the judge ruled that the selection criteria for employees to be retrenched promoted segregation against the migrants who have equal rights as employees.
The judge further ruled that there was no reasonable excuse to retrench the employees as it states in its papers that they were fully qualified and legally employed.
“It is in the best interest of justice to ensure that the rights of employees are protected,” concluded the judge.
The firm was advised to address it’s problems without prejudicing anyone for the gain of another.
Chairman of the ATDF, Sipho Zungu refused to comment on the development.