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Petrol Problem Persists| News by Staff Reporter
More and more filling stations are running out of petrol
The Fuel Retailers’ Association (FRA) said on Thursday at least 150 filling stations in Gauteng and 50 in KwaZulu-Natal have run dry, but added that the real numbers may be even worse.
FRA chief executive Reggie Sibiya said these figures were based on the situation at close of business on Wednesday.
“But these are just reported figures,” he said. “Some service stations are not reporting anything for fear of intimidation, so it could probably be that between 200 to 250 service stations are without fuel in Gauteng.”
On Wednesday Sibiya said the number of filling stations running out of petrol in Gauteng was increasing due to inactivity at the Alrode, Langlaagte and Waltloo fuel depots, and that while the Western Cape was still largely unaffected KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo were expected to start running dry if there was no change.
Sibiya on Thursday said the nationwide strike, involving around 240,000 workers, was crippling the economy and bleeding businesses.
“Fuel retailers, for example, operate on a regulated margin,” Sibiya said. “We cannot change the pump prices and we cannot recover the costs.
“We are helpless. We don’t see any progress at all and we don’t know when this strike will end. It is almost the end of the week, and we are without results.”
Another problem facing employers, however, is the intimidation by striking workers, especially in Gauteng, who make it impossible for depots to release tankers to refill the stations.
In an attempt to stop the intimidation twenty-two organisations and employers have applied for a court order that prevents strikers from being within 60 metres of their places of work, which has now been granted.
Negotiations are still underway between employers and unions, including the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the Metal and Electrical Workers’ Union, the SA Equity Workers’ Association, Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu), the General Industries Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) and the South African Chemical Workers Union (SACWU).
The unions demand wage increases between 10 and 13 percent (to a minimum salary of R6,000 per month), a 40-hour week and a ban on labour brokers.