A recent report by the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) found that the fuel sector currently supports the employment of over 100,000 people directly or indirectly across the country.
According to the report, the majority of those employed by the industry are petrol attendants who earn a set minimum weekly wage. Based on a previous BusinessTech report, the majority of these attendants are young men, with an average age of 27.
More than half had worked in the same position for in excess of five years, while individual salaries can reach R9,000 per month, depending on which company they work for.
While petrol stations can differ on how much they pay based on individual ownership, currently the prescribed minimum wage as set out on 6 December 2016 is R1,126.35 per week as a petrol attendant.
In comparison, cashiers can expect to earn slightly more with a prescribed weekly wage of R1,207.35.
The cost to the motorist
Due to the relatively low minimum wage and the fact that petrol stations are considered a service industry, it has become common practice for South African motorists to tip petrol attendants as the workers perform many “complimentary” services.
This can include the replacement of oil and water, engine check-ups, the filling of air in tires and the cleaning of the vehicles windows – all of which are not strictly considered to be part of a petrol attendant’s job description.
However it should also be noted that the current fuel price also has a direct influence on how much attendants earn, with motorists taking the brunt of the latest prescribed minimum wage increase.
In line with a Numsa, FRA, and Sapra multi-year wage agreement signed in October 2016, the retail margin on all grades of petrol was increased by 4.9 c/l on 7 December 2016 for the sole purpose of recovering the increased wages.