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Frustrated truck drivers

Luisa Qiolevu
Monday, June 19, 2017

FRUSTRATED cane truck drivers complained over lack of communication by the Fiji Sugar Corporation staff members.

This was after they were told to leave their cane trucks and go home as the mill was closed for business yesterday.

A truck driver from Waiqele cane farm, Ram Reddy, said they should have been informed before the day started.

"They should have told us earlier not to come and they want to tell us now when it's afternoon again and we are not very happy at all," he said.

Mr Reddy said they had wasted the whole day when they could have stayed home and spent the day with their families.

"They just wasted our time for leaving home early and waiting in the long line and only to tell us that the mill will be closed down. That is just not a good start for us," he said.

"Most of us left home around 5am without breakfast and the least they could do was to inform us of that they would close down."

Another truck driver Prakash Sharma said the same problem happened last week.

"By now they should know their working schedule and not just send in a text message to all truck drivers after 9am when a long line of trucks are piled out by the road waiting to go in the mill," he said.

Fiji Sugar Corporation chief operating officer, Navin Chandra said FSC had securely parked 12 trucks at their yard and offered transport to drivers back to their homes as well as pickup transportation when mill starts.

"Mill needs cane and it cannot take staggered supply of cane and that Labasa mill this week recorded very high crush rates of over 6000 tonnes in a day," he said.

Mr Chandra said the whole of last year the mill did not run on Sundays and because of that they incurred huge losses.

"While lorries have quarters, if majority does not bring cane, we cannot start mill for few trucks," he said.

"Also due to huge losses, no dumping is allowed in any mills and it is important that this is understood. As we have said, we will work with all our partners to resolve any issues and the partners also need to follow channel of communication."

Meanwhile the Labasa mill has crushed more than 55,000 tonnes of cane and made 4800 tonnes of sugar so far this season,

"This is more than half of the total cane crushed nationally," he said.

"This is only possible if the mill is running well which should be commended by all stakeholders and we have seen improvements in supply and we are hoping more gangs will start soon as we run our mills 24x7."

The mill will resume business today.

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