Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL
Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL

Operations at the Transnet offices in Richards Bay are expected to come to a standstill on Friday as the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) embarks on a protest march.

At the heart of Numsa members’ grievances are allegations of a sex-for-jobs scheme‚ corruption‚ health and safety violations, and labour brokers.

Numsa Richards Bay local secretary Charles Mohlala said members would behave this time.

Numsa members caused chaos in early May when angry port workers used front-end loaders to flip over police vehicles and tear up roadside barriers at the Richards Bay Harbour.

Police fired shots at the earthmoving machines in an attempt to keep them at bay‚ without success.

DEspite the assurance from the union, Transnet has locked machines away.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Friday‚ Mohlala said contractors at Transnet in Richards Bay were fed up with being treated like animals.

"Some Transnet managers are guilty of violating female workers by demanding sex in exchange for jobs. Numsa is calling for an independent inquiry into how Transnet awards tenders. There is no transparency in the tendering process, which means that nepotism and cronyism are rife‚" alleged Mohlala.

He said they were also calling for equal pay for equal work. Contractors and permanent staff performed the same work for the same amount of hours‚ but permanent staff earned more than the contractors.

Mohlala said permanent staff also received transport and meal subsidies and other basic benefits that contractors did not get.

"We are also calling for a ban of labour brokers. Some contractors have been on contract with Transnet for as long as 20 years without being made permanent‚" he said.

Another Numsa gripe relates to health and safety.

He said contractors at Transnet did not have access to dust masks or respirators‚ while permanent staff did.

"The environment is full of dust. Without respirators‚ workers are vulnerable to illnesses."

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