Relief as fuel workers back on the job

2011-07-28 22:55

Johannesburg - Fuel sector workers began returning to work on Thursday after an 18-day strike ended.

Workers would return for the night shift on Thursday. They had until Monday to do so.

"Employees have already started returning to work and are working hard to ensure that the delivery of fuel to hotspot areas is stabilised," SA Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) executive director Avhapfani Tshifularo said.

"Sapia and its member companies are pleased that the dispute has been ended, as the strike did not only affect fuel delivery in Gauteng, but also striking employees who stand to lose financially as a result of the 'no work no pay' principle," he added.

Panic buying

During the first week of the strike, some petrol stations ran out of fuel, largely due to intimidation of non-striking workers.

The situation improved after contingency measures, such as police escorts for petrol tankers, were put in place.

National Petroleum Employers' Association chairperson Mxolisi Ratsibe said production had not been at risk during the stayaway.

Panic buying led to petrol stations running dry.

"Once one petrol station runs out and the media gets hold of it, it initiates panic buying," he said.

Ratsibe said companies would have to assess the impact of the strike.

Engen spokesperson Tania Landsberg could not quantify the effects of the strike in monetary terms, but said a few sites did run dry.

Pay backdated

Earlier on Thursday, unions agreed to an 8.5% increase across the board and a 10% hike for the lowest paid workers.

"Today the unions announced that the workers mandated them to accept the offer, and all parties signed the settlement agreement," Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) director Nerine Kahn said in a statement.

She said the pay hike will be backdated to July 1.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union (Ceppwawu), the General Industries Workers' Union of SA, the SA Chemical Workers' Union, and Solidarity agreed to the employers' revised offer made on July 26 during negotiations at the CCMA.

The unions initially wanted 11%.

Ceppwawu national policy co-ordinator John Appolis said the agreement was only for the fuel sector - industrial chemical workers were still on strike.

  • TRiP - 2011-07-28 23:31

    should FIRE all these people, give the jobs to people more deserving. freeloaders!

      xrayeyes - 2011-07-28 23:42

      Did they also get given this increase for 40 or 45 hour week as demanded?

  • Grimmy75 - 2011-07-29 01:18

    Not sure if the strike affected Namibia as bad but our closest source for cooking gas in the Caprivi is Tsumeb, some 500km away!

  • witboy - 2011-07-29 07:09

    they should never be allowed to strike the country was held to ransom by a few

  • Hdipbusm - 2011-07-29 07:42

    Lets start pouring petrol at the pumps ourselves.

      Christine - 2011-07-29 08:17

      And are you going to drive the tankers to the petrol station as well? It wasn't the pump attendants that were on strike!

      S.J Coetzee - 2011-07-29 11:28

      Doesn't help if there isn't petrol at the pumps

  • Bernard - 2011-07-29 09:21

    So the strikers got a whole 1.5% to 3% more than initial offer from employers, so lets say for every R1000 earned per week they get an extra R15 and R30 respectively, now lost wages due to strike R1000 x 2.5 weeks equals R2500, to earn between R37.50 and R75 more, makes "financial sense" so it will take 67 weeks and 34 weeks to recoupe the lost wages, was it really worth it???? Union will probably increase the monthly fee so their "extra" increase just goes to union, so the only thing the union members got out of the strike was a Union T-Shirt.

      Margaret2 - 2011-07-29 10:14

      And the Union T-shirt is probably made in China, since Union action has decimated our clothing industry!

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