Durban - A group of about 200 protesters blocked the entrance to the harbour on Tuesday morning, resulting in trucks not being able to get into the port and staff not being able to enter at N-Shed.
The strikers work for various companies that are contracted by Transnet.
Chief among their complaints is that they work long hours with little pay, and that they want to be made permanent employees of Transnet.
Ndoni Magwaza, one of the strikers, said they did not have any medical aid and did not get any care for injuries on duty.
“I once slipped on duty and injured my knee, which became swollen. All they did was tell me that I would get better and that was the end of it. I had to take myself to a hospital to get treated. My knee was swollen for a whole week,” Magwaza said.
She said she wanted workers to get medical aid and injury-on-duty cover.
The mother of three said she earned about R3 000 in a good month. “I’m constantly in debt and can barely feed my children,” the KwaMashu resident said.
Magwaza, who has been working at the port for 12 years, vowed that the strike would continue until their demands were met.
Sibusiso Zondo, another worker at the port, said the long hours were also a problem. He said they could work for two to three weeks without getting a break. The days would include them working 12-hour shifts, Zondo said.
“If you get sick, you only get paid for eight hours and not the twelve we work everyday,” he said.
Zondo, who has been working as a driver at the port for the past seven years, said there was also a lack of proper equipment for them to work with. “If we complain we get told that there are plenty of other people who need jobs,” he said.
Zondo said he wanted to be made a permanent staff member of Transnet.
The Transnet National Ports Authority had not responded by the time of publishing
Caption: A group of about 200 protesters blocked the entrance to the Port of Durban this morning, resulting in staff and trucks not being able to enter. Complaints about medical aid and better salaries were made by the workers.
Picture: Leon Lestrade