Striking Willowton drivers deny involvement in attacks

2015-06-26 11:38
Willowton Group workers strike outside the premises on Ohrtmann Road yesterday.

Willowton Group workers strike outside the premises on Ohrtmann Road yesterday. (Jonathan Burton)

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PROTESTING Willowton Logistics drivers have denied any involvement in the attacks on the company’s trucks and their drivers over the past two weeks.

A collision that claimed the lives of three people on Wednesday morning when a Willowton truck collided with a Honeydew truck, is suspected by police to have been caused by a rock that was thrown onto the moving Willowton truck.

The Witness reported yesterday that SAPS suspect the rock was thrown by those involved in a two-week-long labour dispute between Willowton Logistics and some of their truck drivers.

The Witness also reported that the owners of Willowton Logistics had alleged that five other attacks had been carried out on their trucks and drivers over the last two weeks.

A striking Willowton Logistics driver, who would not be named, said yesterday that the alleged attacks on the company’s trucks had “nothing” to do with the protesters.

“We are legally allowed to protest, we are not doing anything wrong, and we were not involved in any petrol bombs or stoning, they must prove it,” he said.

He said the reason behind the labour dispute was that the drivers wanted their own union, however, they said the company would not recognise it.

“We want our union to be recognised, that is all. We are all standing for the same thing,” he said.

The driver said there were 110 Willowton Logistics drivers that had joined the protest, however, Willowton Group and Willowton Logistics director Shoaib Moosa said there were little over 50 striking drivers.

Tirisano Union representative Motedang Botsane said the strike was being conducted under peaceful terms and would continue until the matter was resolved.

Moosa said that the company would not recognise the union as Willowton Logistics belonged to the Transport Bargaining Council which regulated working conditions and salaries of employees.

“There is no need for a union as long as we are part of this group,” he said.

Moosa said he acknowledged the strikers’ right to picket and said it was their right to protest.

“The strike is completely legal, however, there is circumstantial evidence that leads us to suspect their involvement in the attacks on our trucks.” said Moosa.

Moosa said although they did not have direct proof linking protesters to the attacks, he said the incidents of attacks on trucks only began when the strike started.

Moosa added that a Willowton Logistics truck was followed and an incident regarding an attempted petrol bombing occurred on Wednesday night along the Underberg road.

Plessislaer SAPS spokesperson Captain Musi Ntombela said there was a complaint that came through the Underberg SAPS station on Wednesday night, but police who attended the scene found no evidence of a petrol bomb

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  protest  |  strike

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