Truck driver describes low wages, long hours and much overtime

2009-04-08 00:00

A driver who asked not to be named said one of the main reasons they are on strike is low wages. “We earn a basic wage of R4 000 a month and some earn less,” he said.

He said wage negotiations started in January.

He said the drivers work nine basic hours, plus nine hours overtime a day. “We have to work overtime as our basic pay was depleted by deductions,” he said. Some of the drivers don’t have basic pay, and only get paid per trip.

“Some of us work under unfavourable conditions. We sleep in our trucks when we are on night duty, and get paid R90 for a night. We are not in a good situation,” he said.

The KZN secretary for the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU), Joseph Dube, said negotiations are still taking place. “There is a draft agreement in place and we will be reporting back to our members on Thursday (today), and we will take it from there,” he said. “We do not know how long these negotiations will take. It will be up to our members to see if they agree with the draft that has been given to them.”

He said the strike was supposed to begin on March 15, and it was by chance that the strike coincided with the Easter weekend.

Catherine Larkin of the Road Freight Association (RFA) confirmed that negotiations are still under way. In a statement, the RFA said its operations will continue regardless of the strike.

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