WARNING: Pumps could run dry within three days

The good news is that fuel is set to become cheaper from next week.

The bad news is you might not get any.

Motorists are warned to brace themselves for possible fuel shortages by the weekend as more than 15 000 petroleum industry workers strike today.

Clement Chitja, head of collective bargaining at the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU), said refinery and depot workers would strike after wage talks with the National Petroleum Employers’ Association broke down.

Chitja warned the indefinite strike would affect fuel transportation, and garages would run dry within three days.

CEPPWAWU is demanding a nine percent wage increase over one year, but the employers are only offering a 6.5 percent multi-year agreement.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it fully supported its affiliate CEPPWAWU in its bid to demand a living wage.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said it was unacceptable that the employers refused to accede to the workers’ reasonable demands.

He said the price of bread had risen by 10.6 percent and transport by 8.7 percent, and the current employers offer of a 6.5 percent on wage increment was “wholly inadequate”.

“Cosatu is calling on the employers to accede to the workers demands of a nine-percent wage increase, minimum wage of R8 000 and a one-year agreement,” Pamla said in a statement.

“To avoid strikes and improve labour relations, employers need to address the extreme levels of inequality and poverty wages they pay workers.”