14 truck drivers hospitalised after security guards fire rubber bullets at a meeting
Johannesburg - A meeting between EPS Courier Service and it’s truck drivers ended badly, with 14 drivers landing in hospital after a private security company fired rubber bullets at them.
The meeting, held on May 4, was meant to provide drivers with clarity on their transfer from EPS to Innovative Staffing Solutions. It was said that 65 truck drivers were in attendance at the meeting held at the companies Germiston premises.
A truck driver who was shot in the thigh spoke to The Star anonymously.
“We went to the meeting with peace adhering to Covid-19 regulations. We sat outside, applied social distancing and there was never a strike. We don’t mind being transferred but they should give us what we deserve which is our money, since some of us were not paid and we have been working as essential workers,” he said.
The driver said he was gradually recovering from home and has opened a case at the Germiston police station.
According to Innovative Staffing Solutions Managing Director, Arnoux Maré, the workers embarked on an illegal strike.
“Our brief to the security firm was to disperse the illegal strikers at the EPS depot in Germiston. When employees refused ISS management’s numerous requests to leave the premises. No instructions were given by any ISS personnel to shoot at the truck drivers,” he said.
Maré said the mandate was to protect ISS staff members and property from vandalism.
He said the security team had attempted to peacefully disperse the crowd using crowd dispersing tactics.
Maré said the transfer of staff between EPS and ISS would not interrupt any employee.
“There will be continuity of employment and their contract of employment continues with Innovative Staffing Solutions as their new permanent employer.”
The ISS Managing Director revealed that on April 3, the workers union agreed to the transition on behalf of their members.
Tirisano Transport and Service Workers Union, General Secretary, Stephen Motingoa disputed Maré’s claims.
“There is nothing like that. All we wanted was to see was the agreement between ISS and EPS. The content of that legal agreement is not known and that they don't want to disclose it and that is the key issue.
"We have asked for that document and we are told it’s confidential but, we didn’t agree to anything of such nature,” he said.
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said a senior manager was arrested after the shooting took place.
“One person who is reported to be a senior manager in the company was arrested and charged with attempted murder. He was later released on bail and investigation is continuing,” he said.