SUNBIZ

Mechanical Harvester Preference Annoys Cane Lorry Drivers

The mechanical harvesters may have assisted a lot of farmers this harvesting season, but it has not done any favours for the lorry drivers. Around 356 lorry drivers left to
30 Jun 2015 11:00
Mechanical Harvester Preference Annoys Cane Lorry Drivers
It is understood preference was given to the mechanical harvester dumper machines.

The mechanical harvesters may have assisted a lot of farmers this harvesting season, but it has not done any favours for the lorry drivers. Around 356 lorry drivers left to go back home from the Rarawai Mill on Saturday morning after what has been claimed to be unfair treatment.

It is understood preference was given to the mechanical harvester dumper machines to unload the harvested cane over those brought in by lorry drivers.

Mill general manager Sailasa Waitawa referred questions to Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman, Abdul Khan. Mr Khan was expected to have responded via email but by the time we went to press last night, no response was received. Efforts to contact him via phone were unsuccessful.

Fiji Cane Lorry Transport Association general secretary Mukesh Kumar said the lorry drivers had to wait in the cold and dust until the dumping machines had finished.

“It’s not fair because we bring the cane and wait outside and they should just go in order because the lorries always go first and that’s how it was always done,” Mr Kumar said.

“We are working for the four mills and this is the first time that has happened and it didn’t even matter that we came first.

“They just went ahead of us when it should be a first-come first-serve basis.”

He said at present, the situation has calmed from what was could have been a strike by the lorry drivers.

But, he said action needed to be taken.

“We have talked with FSC and the Sugar Cane Growers Council to try and work out solutions because we also want the industry to grow but in a fair manner,” he said.

“This is why we have also spoken to our lawyer and he has given notice to the Sugar Industry Tribunal so we will just wait and see what happens.”

Feedback: saloteq@fijisun.com.fj



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