Wildcat strike brings Zambian road freight to a standstill
15 Nov 2019 - by Staff reporter
A wildcat truck drivers’ strike has brought road freight across Zambia to a halt, according to reports which reached FTWOnline today.
Although it’s not certain what caused the sudden labour action, a WhatsApp message which Zambian authorities initially dismissed as a hoax warned that drivers disobeying the message would only have themselves to blame if something were to happen to them or their rigs.
The message said: “Brothers and sisters, good morning. I’m urging all my fellow truck drivers from other countries – don’t attempt to move in Zambia on 15 November. What you will find, what will happen to you if you use your truck – it will be your fault.”
The unidentified male who recorded the voice message repeated several times that any truck driver found on a Zambian road would be to blame for “what will happen to you.
“Please please please – don’t attempt to drive in Zambia on November 15.”
As for the reasons for the strike, the message only said: “We want our government to hear us. We want our president to hear us. Some companies, they know what the issue is.”
In further information shared with FTWOnline, truck traffic across Zambia had ground to a standstill, with “not a single truck running between Chirundu (to Zambia’s border with Zimbabwe), or Kafue” (towards the Botswana border at Kazungula).
Truck parks across Zambia were reportedly jammed with trucks as drivers made sure that no word got out about possible attempts to flout the strike.
South of Chirundu at least 282 trucks congested roads and facilities inside Zimbabwe, queueing for kilometres as they could not move through the border.
And at Zambia’s copper-belt crossing into the DRC, Kasumbalesa, pictures sent through showed not a truck in site for a transit point that is notoriously congested because of Customs and capacity issues on that border.
A reliable source said the wildcat strike and its effect was reminiscent of the xenophobic arson attacks orchestrated by the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), a group of social media dilettantes responsible for wreaking havoc on South Africa’s road freight sector.
“It seems the ATDF has set standards for truck driver protests in Africa as they are all following suit,” the source said.
“When they can’t get their way they bring the industry to a standstill until they get their way.” – Eugene Goddard
- At the time of posting the story, FTW online has learned that all routes accross Zambia had re-opened.