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EPS truck drivers were shot after trying to loot essential goods from the warehouse – ISS

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19 truck drivers were injured in skirmishes with armed guards at EPS Courier Services premises at Gosforth Park in Germiston on Sunday afternoon.

Truck drivers expressed their outrage on social media after seeing pictures of the injured truckers flood their social media platforms.

SA Trucker spoke to a few of the truck drivers who were present on the day, who said that they were not happy with EPS Courier Services’ handling of their transfer to Innovative Staffing Solutions (ISS) back in February.

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The drivers said they were not consulted before they could be transferred to the employment agency.

“We requested to see the owner of the company before we could proceed with work but this agent unleashed armed guards to brutalise us,” said one trucker who refused to be named.

ISS, however, has said that the security guards only used force after the striking drivers tried to loot essential goods from the warehouse.

“When the truck drivers attempted to loot essential goods in the warehouses, the security personnel fired rubber bullets in the direction of the looters to discourage their illegal activities,” said Arnoux Maré, Managing Director of Innovative Staffing Solutions.

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Explaining the impasse, Maré said that EPS Courier Services cc transferred some of its employees to them as full-time employees.

“The transfer was made in compliance with section 197 of the Labour Relations Act and in agreement with the representatives of the employees’ unions SATAWU and Tirisano,” he said.

Maré said they were supposed to meet with the unions again on 4 May 2020 to discuss any potential staff queries that could arise.

The meeting was, however, postponed to 8 May 2020 at the request of both unions.

“Both unions agreed that any illegal or unprotected industrial action would result in the dismissal of their members,”

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“Today, approximately 65 truck drivers, now employed by Innovative Staffing Solutions, embarked on illegal strike action at EPS Courier Services’ premises in Gosforth Park, Germiston,” Maré added.

Watch: Truck drivers shot, injured after a stand-off with security in Gosforth Park

“Despite numerous requests from Innovative Staffing Solutions’ executives that the illegal strikers vacate the premises and await the outcome of the unions’ meetings, they continued with unprotected industrial action.”

“When employees refused and started taunting executives and security, the independent security company hired to protect the client’s premises, fired warning shots with rubber bullets.

However, when several truck drivers attempted to loot essential goods in the warehouses, the security personnel fired rubber bullets in the direction of the looters to discourage their illegal activities.”

“While we understand that working conditions are abnormal during this time of COVID-19 and that shift times are not ideal, as an essential service provider we have an obligation to serve the needs of our country and our economy. It is therefore highly disappointing and unacceptable that these new employees could not abide by the law and behave in a manner that is representative of our company, our values and our clients.” 

“As per the settlement agreement with the respective unions, the employees involved in the illegal and unprotected industrial action, have been suspended and will face disciplinary action accordingly. These actions are necessary as we cannot allow lawless behaviour to hinder an essential service provider such as ourselves, as the people of South Africa will be the ultimate victims,” concluded Maré.

Satawu’s deputy general-secretary Anele Kiet said they will release a statement after their scheduled meeting with ISS on Friday.

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