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Skirmishes at DRC border as 210 Zim drivers go on strike

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Skirmishes at DRC border as 210 Zim drivers go on strike

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Garikai Mafirakureva


DRC-Some 210 Zimbabwean drivers working for J&J Transport Africa have gone on strike in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) demanding US$500 monthly health allowances which their employer is allegedly withholding from them.
The drivers dumped their trucks at Kasumbalesa Border Post last week and efforts to force them back to work resulted in skirmishes between them and some allegedly hired thugs.


J&J which is owned by Jens Peter Jensen is one of the largest integrated trucking and logistics operators on the Beira corridor with a fleet of over 1 740 freightliner trucks and depots across Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
J&J assistant General Manager, Albert Bere confirmed the industrial action in an interview with The Mirror and added that the drivers were on an illegal strike in a foreign land. He said that he was on his way to the DRC and will only be able to comment when he got there.
However, Samuel Samkange one of the drivers told The Mirror that Bere was already in DRC and he had paid the DRC Police to arrest and push them to go back to work.


The drivers told The Mirror that they transport hazardous substances and as a result mining companies pay them health risk allowance of US$500 and they have not paid been paid since December last year.
J&J allegedly dissuaded the mining companies from paying the allowances directly to the drivers because it claimed that they will spend the money on beer and drive under the influence of alcohol.
The drivers ferry Cobalt Hydroxide or Copper from Glencore-owned Mutanda Mine in DRC to Beira and on their return journey they bring back Sulphur. Hundred and ten of the drivers are at the border while 100 are striking from the open-pit mine.


The company employs over 400 drivers in Zimbabwe.
“The company is taking the money from mines claiming that if the money is paid directly to us, we will get drunk and fail to meet deadlines. Now they are saying if we drive and get to DRC and back to Beira in 30 days, we are paid US$500 and if we spend 35 days, we are paid US$400. Our position is that we want our money without any conditions.
“We lost two drivers last month to lung diseases. One died after failing to get a pint of blood for transfusion, said Samkange.


He accused Bere of hiring thugs in DRC to attack and push them back to work
“When the drivers engage in unlawful activities law enforcement agencies step in. It is not true that I paid thugs. We are following all due processes to put the illegal strike to an end as we have applied for court order back in Zimbabwe and we have court orders against them in Zambia,” said Bere.https://masvingomirror.com/

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