Striking drivers ordered to return 39 SA trucks

HARARE - Zimbabwe High Court has ordered 43 Mainline Freight (Private) Limited drivers to return 39 haulage trucks they confiscated after embarking on an “illegal” industrial action.

The South African firm had to file an urgent court application to secure the release of the trucks, which were transporting cargo around southern Africa.

High Court judge Joseph Mafusire on Saturday ordered the truck drivers to release the vehicles immediately.

According to an affidavit by the firm’s human resources’ business partner Paul Snyman, the company specialises in cross-border haulage services, mainly ferrying cargo within the southern African region.

The Pietermaritzburg-based company told the court that the drivers conspired to partake in a collective industrial action just after crossing into Zimbabwe on January 21.

According to Snyman, the drivers parked the 39 haulage trucks in Harare, Chirundu and Beitbridge. They told their employer that they were not going to proceed with the trips until their grievances were addressed.

The workers demanded their employer dismisses the firm’s operations manager Chris Healey, who they claimed was ill-treating them.

“Consequently, the applicant’s business was brought to a standstill as it cannot deliver on time but furthermore each truck contained approximately R1,3 million worth of cargo, which cargo includes copper,” Snyman said.

The firm lodged a court application in South Africa, which declared the industrial action illegal.

This followed the failure by the workers to attend the court hearing in South Africa, despite Snyman’s claims that they had been given air tickets for the trip.

The company proceeded to file a High Court application in Zimbabwe, demanding the release of the trucks after the police had refused to entertain their request for assistance in the absence of a court order.

“…the trucks and the cargo have already overstayed in Zimbabwe and continue to incur fines from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority at a rate of $400 per day,” Snyman said.

“The longer the respondents remain in unlawful possession of them, the more penalties which applicant will have to pay.

“The trucks are now illegally in Zimbabwe and the applicant has an obligation to mitigate its losses and cannot afford for the trucks to remain in Zimbabwe any longer.”

He said the drivers had damaged some of the trucks.

“We are therefore seeking an order directing the respondents to surrender possession of the motor vehicles and all documents relating to them,” he said.

 

Comments (4)

mmmmm

sudu shabhani - 3 February 2015

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