A GROUP of employees hired through four labour brokers at Transnet’s Container Terminal yesterday refused to work, demanding that their grievances be addressed by the port authority. Leon Lestrade African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - WORKERS contracted to four labour brokers and hired out to Transnet went on strike in Durban yesterday, wanting to be employed directly by Transnet National Ports Authority.

Transnet said while its landside and rail operations were running smoothly, its waterside operations were impacted by the strike at the container terminal in Bayhead.

Yesterday morning the workers gathered and refused to carry out their duties.

One said the strike, which broke out on Tuesday night, was sparked by news that employees would not receive a 13th cheque.

The employee said they embarked on a march in October when they aired their grievances, including their alleged exploitation through labour broking.

They said some had been working at the port through the brokers for up to 20 years.

They said they had long been fighting the battle to be permanently employed by the port.

“We want the port to hire us. We want to be like the other employees here at the port, getting the same benefits because we also work hard,” said one employee.

The Daily News also heard claims that the employees were paid unequally while they all performed the same duties. They said there were about 500 employees employed through labour brokers.

Transnet said the terminals had effected a business continuity plan in response and set up a command centre to monitor operations.

“The terminal is operational and we are in constant communication with our customers,” it read.

Thomas Ngcobo, of the Revolutionary Transport Union of South Africa, said workers had learnt on Tuesday that they would not be getting bonuses and demanded to see the employer.

“The workers spent the night outside the container terminal, waiting until the morning, and the employer did not arrive. This morning they were still out there and the employer spoke to them,” he said.

Ngcobo said it was decided that a meeting today would chart a way forward for Transnet to absorb the workers.

The workers were expected to resume their duties today.

Daily News