Events at Nida Transport are proving that unity amongst truck drivers give them a better chance of finding solutions to pressing matters rather than the divisive tactics of the ATDF.
All Nida Transport truck drivers, without the nationality boundary infamously created by the ATDF, are striking against racism by their employer, less pay and inhuman working conditions.
The strike which started on Monday has only been successful so far because truck drivers are united against the oppressive employers.
If only local drivers staged the strike then immigrant drivers would have been keeping the work going much to the benefit of the company.
The same is true also if it was foreigners striking, hence the importance of the two parties to unite and resolve problems affecting both sides.
This is my opinion, which I believe many people agree with, the problem in the trucking industry is not foreigners, but employers who take advantage of employees, foreigners or not.
Nida Transport is accused of paying drivers R8 000 salaries, and sometimes less which is far less than the gazetted R 12 190,24
Managers are also accused of calling drivers degrading names such as ‘black baboon’ in the new South Africa, that should not be tolerated.
Some of my friends, drivers at Nida Transport, tell me that the controllers do not allow you to sleep, they are always pushing you.
Truck drivers have also been denied not just time off, but time off to attend to pressing personal matters.
The above conditions affect both a South African and a foreign driver, which is exactly what drivers should fight, not fighting each other.
If drivers need to be recognised as the most important part of the trucking industry, or transport as a whole they should unite.
I am not saying that foreigners should dominate local jobs, but I’m sure if you sit down with a South African driver and a foreigner you will understand that they are all trying to fend for their families.
The employers, however, should follow the law and employ a reasonable number of both sides to balance the equation.
Nida Transport has both local and foreign drivers but we have never heard of the drivers fighting amongst themselves.
If these drivers worked in a conducive environment, a further 20% or more would be employed to allow shifts or time offs.
With the current conditions, a driver does not come out the truck until it breaks down or it’s due for service.
In normal or acceptable conditions, the driver would opt to work for a continuous period then take his time off.
Like where I work, after every four weeks, I get 7 days time-off.
To me this is an acceptable plan, my boss can plan accordingly knowing when exactly I go off and the system does not negatively hinder operations.
It is time that those who campaign for the removal of foreign truck drivers understand where the real problem is. As drivers, we should not fight against each other but unite against oppression.
Remember, where someone is forced to work 24hours a day, it means the employer has avoided employing a relief driver. So if employers force 1000 drivers to work without off for a month it means they have denied about 250 drivers an opportunity to earn something that month.
Jobs are there but those working are forced to do two or three people’s work and at the end of the day pay them less than the gazetted minimum.
Nida Transport will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo for all guilty companies’ sake.
If these drivers get it right, then other drivers in a similar predicament stand a chance.
Forward Nida drivers forward!
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