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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Whelson Transport drivers’ R666 basic pay shocks the SADC drivers

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While it’s a well-known fact that South African truck drivers get the most handsome basic pay in the SADC region it is, however, shocking to learn that a well-established transporter in Zimbabwe, Whelson Transport, is paying its truck drivers a paltry 34 000RTGS which equates to US$40 or R666.

This was revealed in a letter of grievances by disgruntled drivers sent out to the management of Whelson Transport this past week.

The US$40 is an insult to the cross-border drivers who are expected to earn at least US$338 (R5 623) as per gazetted by the Zimbabwean government.

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A Whelson Transport truck driver who spoke to SA Trucker on condition of anonymity said that after all the incentives are added onto the basic his pay barely passes US$400 (R6 682).

The SADC truck driving community on social media has expressed shock at the peanuts their counterparts are getting from such a well-seasoned transporter.

One comment on Facebook got many reactions in agreement with the sorry state the drivers find themselves in, he wrote, “It’s a typical example of modern-day slavery.”

Read also: Father and son, both truckers, and their family die in Beitbridge horrific crash

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The drivers got together and wrote the company management this letter below:

Letter of grievances from Whelson Transport drivers


We sought an audience from HR and Operations through various written letters which they received and continuously refused to respond to, hence we have resorted to this means of communication.

The reason for this letter is written as follows;

  1. Basic salary is pegged at 34000rtgs which translates to less than $40usd despite the Government of Zimbabwe gazetted minimum wage of $338usd.
  2. We are not clear as to how our trip bonus is calculated and at what rate, but from our own analysis we are getting a rate of 2c per kilometre as a trip bonus, whereas we expect the rate to be at around 12c as compared to the running rate in the industry.
  3. We are getting $11usd for food allowance per day but unfortunately, we don’t have a night allowance. On the same note, we get charged for late transit but we don’t get a reciprocal allowance when we are in transit.
  4. Fuel charges rate when there’s a fuel short is just way beyond reason at $3us per litre whereas the fuel cost is at $1.80us on average. On the same note, we have trucks which are fitted with anti-siphoning gadgets like the latest Volvo truck but unfortunately, the drivers are still getting charged for the fuel shortages.
  5. We suspect foul play from the accounts opened in our names from CBZ bank and we actually have ATM cards in our names but we see money deposited and withdrawn from these accounts without our involvement. If you can kindly request bank statements from these accounts for further investigations.
  6. We have seen from our investigations that mines in DRC are paying danger/risk allowances for carrying dangerous goods but unfortunately the money isn’t being paid to the drivers.
  7. We need at least 2days off duty when we are coming from DRC. If you can kindly check on the bypass issue.
  8. We request that we get the following company documents which guide our terms of employment;
    – Code of Conduct
    – Conditions of service
    – Job description

In conclusion, drivers are getting less than $500usd monetary benefit per month all inclusive. (Basic wage + trip bonus + food allowance) and as such we request an urgent review of our wages and benefits. We kindly request an immediate response to the matters raised in this letter. We are basically living below the required wage and going forward we request that whenever we have concerns the responsible authorities should give us an ear and respond to the matters before we end up resorting to other measures outside the company.

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Concerned Whelson Drivers.

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