Durban – The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has distanced itself from the planned strike in the trucking industry on September 1 and 2.
“News of a nationwide strike in the industry has been widely circulated. However, we do not know the origins of the call for the strike because none of the legitimate unions within the National Bargaining Council for Road Freight and Logistics Industry have called for it,” said Satawu media officer, Zanele Sabela.
She said they were concerned for the safety of truck drivers and urged trucking companies to be cautious because in the past strikes called by faceless people have often resulted in gruesome attacks on truck drivers with trucks they drive set alight.
“We support all efforts by the South African Police Services to stump out attacks on the country’s trucking industry which are tantamount to economic sabotage,” she said.
SA Trucker shared a note which has been circulating on social media. Several audio clips recorded by people claiming to be ATDF members flooded the social media for the past two weeks.
The Zambian government, this week, issued a travel advisory, warning its truck drivers to avoid travelling on South Africa’s major routes on Monday.
Zambian high commission spokesperson Naomi Nyawali said they had received reports from drivers who have been threatened with violence ahead of the planned nationwide work stoppage.
“Some Zambian truck drivers have faced physical attacks and threats from their South African counterparts, who are fighting for better conditions from their employers,” she said.
Nyawali said they had warned drivers who would be entering or working in South Africa on September 2 to park their trucks in safe designated places. Chief executive of the Road Freight Association, Gavin Kelly, said they were aware of the message. “All you can do is to warn drivers about the threat. Operators who can afford to reschedule travel will be able to do so. We are warning drivers to exercise caution,” he said.
Meanwhile, some drivers from other Southern African countries have threatened a backlash if immigrant drivers continue to be harassed as has been the case recently. One video, in particular, has gone viral on SA Trucker Facebook page passing 260 000 views and 4 500 shares in just over 24 hours.