FRA welcomes petrol strike end

By Drum Digital
27 September 2013

The Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) welcomed an agreement on Friday to end a three-week pay strike by petrol attendants.

CEO Reggie Sibiya said it had been a long journey since negotiations began in May.

"Today [Friday] we are very pleased to have put our signature on the final settlement agreement with Numsa," Sibiya said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, Numsa signed off on a wage deal that secured an 11.6 percent increase for workers for this year, a nine percent increase for next year, and another nine percent increase for the following year.

This meant petrol attendants would receive a wage increase of R2 per hour as of October 2.

Workers were expected back at work on Monday.

Sibiya thanked Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant for intervening.

She met employers and Numsa earlier this week to try to find a solution to end the strike.

"Her contribution towards breaking the impasse was a great help. We also want to thank the Minister of Energy [Ben] Martins and his department for having allowed the speedy processes to ensure we implement the wage increases timeously," he said.

He hoped that lessons were learnt from this strike.

"We hope that as parties we will take all the learning into the future in order to improve our bargaining model and the sustainability of our industry.

"We still have key challenges ahead of us as an industry and the signatures themselves are not a means to an end."

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim hailed the strike as a success.

While most petrol stations continued to operate after hiring temporary employees, Jim said the owners of the stations had to constantly ensure that the temporary workers provided a satisfactory service to customers, and they continued to make a profit.

Numsa was still engaged in negotiations with employers in the automotive industry as its workers were still on strike.

The union and the employers were scheduled to meet on Friday afternoon.

Jim said they would not accept anything less than a "decent offer".

-by Sapa

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