Brace for petrol shortages as strike season begins

2011-07-11 07:09

Petrol stations may run dry as fuel workers embark on a countrywide strike today, the Fuel Retailers’ Association said.

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

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

Sibiya urged motorists not to panic but be prepared for fuel shortages.

“Hopefully, unions and employers reach a speedy resolution.”

About 70 000 fuel workers from the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu) and the General Industries Workers’ Union of SA (Giwusa) were demanding a minimum salary of R6 000 per month and a 40-hour work week.

Giwusa president Charles Phahla yesterday told reporters that workers would march to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg tomorrow.

He believed fuel and medicines would be in short supply.

Last week, about 170 000 engineering and steel workers from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Metal and Electrical Workers’ Union (Mewusa), the United Association of SA (Uasa), Solidarity and the SA Equity Workers’ Association (Saewa) began striking.

They were demanding wage increases ranging from 10% to 13%, and a ban on labour brokers.

Violence had erupted with one death and six injuries reported.

Ceppwawu and Giwusa are set to join the engineering strike today, demanding higher wages.

Ceppwawu and Giwusa last week indicated that their members would embark on the strike from today.

The unions were joining earlier strikes by Numsa, Mewusa, Uasa, Solidarity and Saewa.
Strike action could see supplies of medicine and petrol interrupted.

Members of the unions, which represent about 170 000 workers, started a countrywide engineering strike on June 4.

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