Talks continue as fuel stations run dry

Talks to end a sometimes violent truck driver strike that has seen hundreds of petrol stations run dry, continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning with no announcement, an official said.

“Talks continued well into the early hours of this morning and they will continue again later this morning [Wednesday],” said Road Freight Employers’ Association (RFEA) spokesperson Magretia Brown.

“We are hoping that after 11am, we’ll be in a position to report to members as to the status of the negotiations,” she added.

The RFEA is in talks with the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), whose members have been on strike since last Tuesday.

The protest action has been marred by reports of intimidation and violence and has caused at least 300 petrol stations, mainly in townships, to run dry due to shortages in fuel deliveries.

Police fired rubber bullets at striking truck drivers who assaulted two men in Johannesburg on Tuesday while a group of strikers also stoned and looted a delivery van in Johannesburg.

On Gauteng’s East Rand, a truck driver was assaulted and his truck set alight in what seemed to be strike-related violence on Tuesday, police reported.

The RFEA said on Tuesday afternoon that “the parties managed to agree on all monetary issues, which include amongst others, an across the board increase of 11%”. The union was demanding a 13% increase.

The RFEA said the parties had reached a stalemate over Satawu’s demand that all terms of the negotiations should also extend to employees who were not covered by the bargaining council and fell outside of the bargaining unit.

“The unions cannot prove that they represent any of those people that they want us to extend the agreement to,” the RFEA said.

“The only outstanding reason for people to continue with the strike is to support this issue.” - Sapa

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