Petrol stations begin to run dry as Satawu strike continues

Some petrol stations across the country have run dry as a strike in the road freight industry enters its third day, the Fuel Retailers Association said on Thursday.

CEO Reggie Sibiya could not say how many petrol stations had been affected, but added that most complaints had been received from Shell and Chevron.

Other members of the association, such as BP, Engen and Sasol, “have had no issues so far”.

The areas most affected were in Witbank, Pretoria and Durban.

“Easter doesn’t make it any easier,” said Sibiya, as many motorists prepare to go on holiday over the long weekend.

Sibiya said that the impact of the road freight strike by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) members had only been felt on Thursday as most petrol stations had a lead time of two days.

More petrol stations are expected to run out of petrol by midday, if there are no deliveries, he said.

The strike in the road freight industry started on Tuesday and continued on Thursday.

Earlier, the Road Freight Employers’ Association (RFEA) announced that it had reached an agreement with Satawu on wage issues.

Satawu was now demanding that the wage agreement be extended to employees not covered by the bargaining council, such as data capturers and administration staff, RFEA spokesperson Magretia Brown said.

No talks were scheduled for Thursday and the strike would continue “indefinitely”, Brown said.

Satawu denied in a statement on Thursday that any agreement had been reached.

“Satawu wishes to clarify media reports suggesting that an agreement had been reached last night with the RFEA on 11% across the board.

“We categorically state that there was no agreement reached or signed by Satawu negotiators.”

According to Satawu, the reports were intended to create confusion and mislead its members on the ground.

It added that its members in the road freight industry would continue to strike.

“Satawu calls for maximum unity and discipline from all its members in pursuit of our legitimate demands,” the union said.—Sapa

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