Automobile Association (AA) has advised all motorists to fill up their thanks ahead of the fuel scarcity that would rock the country in a very short while due to AA strike action planned to kick-start today, 28 July.
This comes weeks after the association announced a massive drop in petrol price in the coming month following the weak oil price and strengthening rand in the face of Brexit.
Petroleum industry workers are expected to go on strike from 28 July, after an industrial action by the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (CEPPAWU) revealed that wage talks failed.
The union’s Clement Chitja, head of collective bargaining at the Ceppwawu, said refinery and depot workers would strike after wage talks with the National Petroleum Employers’ Association broke down.
“It is our understanding that the strike will affect all refineries and depots of petroleum companies. This strike does not include petrol pump attendants, but will start to impact motorists once the pumps at petrol stations start to run dry,” explained the AA as it urged motorists to avoid taking unnecessary journeys, as well as stop-start driving to reduce fuel use.
“Driving with an air-conditioner on, speeding, and driving in peak hour traffic will consume fuel quicker. We, therefore, advise motorists to adjust their driving patterns as far as possible to ensure that the fuel in their tanks lasts a bit longer,” advised the AA.
Chitja said workers wanted a 9% increase, but employers were offering 7% for 2016. Hence, it said it is unclear how long the industrial action will last, but motorists are urged to monitor media, and social media reports, for updates.
Industrial action is scheduled to begin at 6am tomorrow morning – 28 July 2016 and Chitja explained that it could take about three days before filling stations ran dry.
The strike was expected to involve more than 15 000 workers and would affect the transportation of fuel to petrol stations around the country, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and Western Cape, as well as Mpumalanga.
“All petroleum suppliers will be affected and unfortunately so will motorists. We want them to know that this is not of our own doing, but we believe a strong message has to be sent to employers.
“It is not true that they can cry broke; what they are doing is withholding money and by so doing, they are stagnating the economy.” Chitja said ahead of the AA strike action
SA is a net importer of refined petroleum products and a prolonged AA strike action could lead to massive shortages ahead of municipal elections in August.
Though the association has insisted on taking on strike action, it is hopefully expected that this won’t last for too long especially as the local elections is just few days away.