Petrol strike enters second week in South Africa

A mass wage strike in the petrochemical industry enters its second week in South Africa after talks between employers and union leaders broke down on Friday, leaving motorists exposed to dwindling fuel supplies.

Wage talks covering South Africa’s oil refineries and their distribution networks stalled last week as Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers union (Ceppwawu), the largest of the three unions in the sector, called a strike last Thursday.

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

“Offers made by employers did not yield any benefit so there is no agreement at all. The strike will definitely continue,” said Clement Chitja, head of collective bargaining at Ceppwawu, following a meeting with employers.

There are currently no further meetings scheduled, industry and union officials said.

Refineries operated by Shell, BP , Chevron and Sasol, have maintained output although there were disruptions to deliveries as millions voted on Wednesday, said the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia).

It said on its official Twitter account on Friday that replenishment of services stations were “progressing well”.

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Petrol strike enters second week in South Africa