Yesterday morning the group of drivers refused to start work and parked their trucks in a queue obstructing access to the asphalt plant at Petit Paris.
A member of the group and the vice-chairperson of the truck drivers association Jeffrey Delorie said discussions regarding an increase in the hourly rate charges paid to them as well as other improved working conditions, including written contracts for the drivers, have been going on for a long time and they are tired of waiting for a fruitful outcome.
“We cannot start the year with this old issue unresolved; it is time we take things to another level,” Mr Delorie said yesterday before the drivers got on one truck and said they were taking their grievance to State House. But arriving in town they drove to the SLTA head office at Huteau Lane where they held closed door discussions with the SLTA chief executive Parindah Herath. Also present was Raymond St Ange, representing the minister responsible for transport.
After the meeting, which went on for more than two hours, Mr Herath announced that the drivers will get a 33% raise on the hourly rate.
The drivers were demanding 100% increase on the rates they offer their services.
The rate being used was R750 per hour for a 10-tonne truck and R450 per hour for a five-tonne truck.
“On their side they were asking for an increase of 100%, which means to double the rate they were using but when we made our calculation on the expenses made by the drivers such as buying fuel, maintenance, insurance and so on we felt that what they were demanding was not reasonable,” Mr Herath said.
He added, “late last year in November we proposed a 25% increase which we believe is reasonable but they disagreed with the terms and said they were sticking to the 100% increase demand. Unfortunately, we are not in the position to carry out such an increase because it is firstly not justified, therefore this is the reason they decided to protest,” Mr Herath explained.
He said the 33% increase is temporary and the two parties will meet again in two weeks’ time for further negotiations.
The new rates are as follows: for 10-tonne trucks it will be R1,000 per hour and R600 per hour for five-tonne trucks.
Tony Bastienne, the chairperson of the truck drivers association, said the increase is still not acceptable but as it is just temporary, they will await the outcome of the review in 14 days.
Source : Seychelles NATION