Pumps run dry as strike con­tin­ues

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NOLOYISO MTEMBU

PETROL sta­tions around Cape Town have started run­ning dry as a re­sult of the petroleum in­dus­try work­ers strike, with some say­ing they have just enough fuel to last un­til this af­ter­noon.

Work­ers af­fil­i­ated to the Chem­i­cal En­ergy Pa­per Print­ing Wood and Al­lied Work­ers Union downed tools on Thurs­day fol­low­ing failed salary ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Week­end Ar­gus con­tacted ser­vice sta­tions yes­ter­day, and many said they were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing short­ages.

A few said they were still sup­ply­ing fuel but their re­serves were dwin­dling.

A ser­vice sta­tion man­ager in Diep River said his sta­tion had enough fuel for the week­end, but they were be­gin­ning to run short.

The ef­fect of the strike will not only be felt by ser­vice sta­tions and mo­torists; com­pa­nies which sup­ply fuel are also feeling the pinch.

Chevron spokes­woman Suzanne Pullinger said yes­ter­day they were do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to main­tain sup­ply.

“Chevron has pre­pared for the strike in an ef­fort to re­duce the im­pact on mo­torists. Re­fin­ery op­er­a­tions are con­tin­u­ing and we are do­ing as much as pos­si­ble to main­tain the sup­ply of fuel to our net­work of Cal­tex sta­tions,” she said.

But she said the safety of staff, the pub­lic and the en­vi­ron­ment were Chevron’s top busi­ness im­per­a­tives.

“We are mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely and will ad­just our con­tin­gency plans to ad­dress any po­ten­tial knock-on ef­fects that may arise from the strike,” Pullinger said.

Late yes­ter­day the Na­tional Petroleum Em­ploy­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (NPEA) con­firmed the strike stemmed from a dead­lock in the an­nual wage ne­go­ti­a­tions with Cep­p­wawu.

The union is propos­ing a 9 per­cent in­crease for a sin­gle year agree­ment, while em­ploy­ers want a two-year agree­ment by which em­ploy­ees will get a 7 per­cent in­crease in the first year and an in­crease linked to the April 2017 CPI plus 1.5 per­cent in year two.

noloyiso.mtembu@inl.co.za

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