A strike by some 1000 container drivers at Port Klang enters day three without an amicable solution in sight although The Port Klang Authority (PKA) has ordered depot operators at Northport and Westport to reduce their depot gate charges on trucker drivers.
The drivers want container depot operators to deal directly with haulage-on-door gate charges and not to burden them as they need to carry some RM150-RM200 in cash daily. This is claimable later but the company requires proof of documentation before reimbursing the drivers with sums spent.
Initially, there were’t any charges imposed on the drivers but gradually they were charged RM5.00 per container. This apparently is used as funds to upkeep the roads surrounding the depot. Now however, the fee has more than tripled to RM18-RM25 per container.
A dissatisfied truck driver, S. Rayan claimed that his basic salary has been RM300.00 for the last last 25 years, and he needs to haul at least five containers per day in order to cover his daily costs for his family’s living expenses.
Despite imposing RM 18.00 gate charges, the services provided by container depot operators were deplorable as drivers had to wait more than 5 hours just to collect a single container which then needs to be transported to Shah Alam. Such grueling waiting hours make it impossible for the truckers to earn a decent living – as not much can be achieved in a single day.
Another protester, who refused to be identified, claimed that they were instructed by Klang Port Authority (LPK) yesterday to clear some 8,000 containers from North Port before coming into discussion for a solution. However, when they refused, LPK apparently arranged for auxiliary police to clear the containers last night.
He added “Last night around 2.00am the police arrested 25 container drivers on claims that a haulier company made a police report on damaged containers which was later found to be untrue.”
“We now depending on S Manikavasagam, Kapar MP who is currently at Putrajaya to negotiate with the Transport Ministry as no one else is ready to listen to us”, he further added.
Manikavasagam also requested two of his lawyers to assist in all 25 arrests.
Meanwhile, the drivers have reach agreement that no haulage driver should return to the wheel until a settlement is reached and all 25 drivers who were arrested are released.