Sapref has no plans to shut down

2011-07-11 10:52

Sapref, the largest crude oil refinery in southern Africa, has no intention of shutting down during the countrywide fuel workers’ strike, it said today.

“Sapref does not anticipate that they will need to shut down,” said spokeswoman Margaret Rowe.

“Sapref intends to continue operating for as long as it is safe to do so.”

Rowe was unable to comment on possible fuel shortages, and directed further enquiries to Shell SA Refining spokesman Dennis Matsane and BP Southern Africa spokeswoman Glenda Zvenyika.

Both were not immediately available for comment.

Sapref, which is a joint venture between Shell and BP, provides for 35% of South Africa’s refining capacity, and is located in Durban.

Fuel Retailers’ Association chief executive Reggie Sibiya said it feared petrol stations may run dry during the strike.

“In terms of determining when it will run dry depends on how organised the strike is,” he said.

“But we are not going to see it today as most stations have stock.”

Sibiya urged motorists to be prepared and not panic.

Meanwhile, the Steel and Engineering Industries’ Federation of SA today said it was hopeful of a speedy resolution with striking engineering workers.

“The bilateral engagements between the two largest players in the industry were reasonably positive in nature and appear to be moving closer to one another in an attempt to reach a possible solution to the current wage negotiation impasse,” said the federation’s executive director, David Carson.

He said an encouraging approach was adopted by the employer and trade union negotiators over the weekend.

“I believe that a high-level commitment to the cessation of the violence and the conclusion of a mutually acceptable agreement was evident and feel cautiously optimistic that we may begin to move into a position where we could bring this process to a satisfactory conclusion.”

The DA has called on President Jacob Zuma to ensure his administration manages issues pertaining to the current strike season.

About 70 000 fuel workers from the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers’ Union and the General Industries Workers Union of SA (Giwusa) joined 170 000 engineering workers in a countrywide strike, which entered its second week today.

Giwusa had members in the pharmaceutical, glass, chemical and fast-moving consumer goods, fibre and particle board industries.

They were planning to march to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg tomorrow.

They were demanding a minimum salary of R6 000 per month and a 40-hour work week.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA, the Metal and Electrical Workers’ Union and the SA Equity Workers’ Association were demanding wage increases ranging from 10% to 13%, and a ban on labour brokers.

Last week, violence during the strike resulted in one death and six injuries.

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