Transport union to march on TPT

A group of stevedores, led by the Revolutionary Transport Union of South Africa (Retusa), is set to march on Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) this Saturday (October 13) to submit a memorandum of demands to the transport company.

At the centre of the dispute is the issue of permanent employment for staff placed by labour brokers.

Retusa communications liaison officer, Philani Zungu, told FTW Online that Transnet was refusing to acknowledge these employees as being permanently employed by the company in spite of a Constitutional Court decision that gave Transnet – and other companies using labour brokers – three months from the time of the judgment to make staff permanent.

“Labour brokers provide staff to a company to do a specific job, but the court stated that there was no need for broking when a job was permanent and required that companies absorb staff who had been working for the company on a prolonged basis,” he said. “However, Transnet has made no moves to do this for stevedores who have been offloading and loading containers for the company for ten ten to 15 years.”

Zungu said that Retusa had been trying to engage with Transnet to resolve the issue since July this year but said that company had been avoiding the union completely. When the transport union tried to take up the matter with the labour brokers who provided the staff to Transnet, they were “nowhere to be found”.

This led Retusa to lay a complaint with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

“We provisionally withdrew our complaint with the CCMA as we received a letter from Transnet which called for us to suspend our CCMA application in order to have a sit down to discuss our grievances with the company,” said Zungu. “But nothing came out of this and Transnet continues to avoid us.”

He also noted that the labour brokerage companies that Retusa was able to contact did not have any information showing that the workers employed by Transnet had been brokered by them, with Transnet claiming these workers as “independent contractors” rather than brokered employees.

Retusa will be marching from Gugu Dlamini Park to the TPT head office in Kingsmead, Durban, at 09h00.

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