Gaut­eng garages run dry as in­tim­i­da­tion shuts Pre­to­ria depot

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

CAPE TOWN – In­tim­i­da­tion by strik­ing union mem­bers at a ma­jor petrol hub in Pre­to­ria has brought the depot to a stand­still, which has re­sulted in petrol sta­tions running dry in north­ern Gaut­eng yes­ter­day.

That is ac­cord­ing to Fani Tshi­fu­laro, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at the South African Petroleum In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (Sapia), in a tele­phonic in­ter­view with Fin24 yes­ter­day.

Wage talks cov­er­ing South Africa’s oil re­finer­ies and their dis­tri­bu­tion net­works stalled last week as Cep­p­wawu, the largest of the three unions in the sec­tor, called a strike on Thurs­day.

With its 15,000 mem­bers, Cep­p­wawu is push­ing for a one-year agree­ment for 9 per­cent, while the Na­tional Petroleum Em­ploy­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (NPEA) pro­posed a 7 per­cent in­crease this year and a con­sumer price index plus 1 per­cent in­crease next year.

The strike is on­go­ing and there has been no no­tice of sus­pen­sion, Zimisele Ma­ja­mane, deputy chair of the NPEA which bar­gains on be­half of the oil com­pa­nies, told Fin24 on Mon­day.

“I’ve heard of some petrol sta­tions, par­tic­u­larly in parts of north Gaut­eng, running low,” said Tshi­fu­laro. “Some sta­tions are com­pletely with­out fuel.”

“It’s just spe­cific parts of Gaut­eng that is af­fected by in­tim­i­da­tion by union mem­bers at a depot where trucks need to load and de­liver petrol.

“This is at the Pre­to­ria depot, which is a ma­jor hub for the in­dus­try,” he said. “It is a stor­age fa­cil­ity that all the com­pa­nies use.

“There is no ac­tiv­ity at that depot, as the in­tim­i­da­tion is very rife,” he said. “It is a ma­jor con­cern as the re­ports of in­tim­i­da­tion is mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult. We are wor­ried about the safety of em­ploy­ees.”

He said oil com­pa­nies are try­ing to put their con­tin­gen­cies in place, but there will be re­gions that are af­fected, be­cause when you “re-route your sup­ply it be­comes com­pli­cated.”

He said Sapia calls on all par­ties to come to some sort of res­o­lu­tion. “They are ne­go­tia­tors,” he said. “They need to find so­lu­tions to the prob­lem.”

He said the coun­try did not have a short­age of fuel, but said the prob­lem will be get­ting trucks to de­liver petrol.

Cep­p­wawu told eNCA yes­ter­day that the pumps drama should make “log­i­cal sense to em­ploy­ers that com­mon ground should be reached soon”.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate that you can­not an­tic­i­pate an ac­tion that does not have any neg­a­tive im­pact,” said Cep­p­wawu head of col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing Cle­ment Chitja.

“But it’s not our de­sire to hit the third per­son, but it makes the em­ploy­ers to be aware of the sit­u­a­tion, so that they rise up and take the ini­tia­tive to re­solve the dis­pute so that there is no col­lat­eral dam­age when the two par­ties are fight­ing.”

eNCA added that some fuel sta­tions have roped in in­de­pen­dent truck­ers to have help al­le­vi­ate the pres­sure.— eNCA.

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