Johannesburg - Sapref, the largest crude oil refinery in southern Africa, has no intention of shutting down during the countrywide fuel
workers' strike, it said on Monday.
"Although Ceppwawu (the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing,
Wood, and Allied Workers Union) has called for a national strike, Sapref does
not anticipate that they will need to shut down," said spokesperson
"Sapref intends to continue operating for as long as it
is safe to do so."
Rowe was unable to comment on possible fuel shortages, and
directed further enquiries to Shell SA Refining spokesperson Dennis Matsane,
and BP Southern Africa spokesperson Glenda Zvenyika. Both were not immediately
available for comment.
Sapref, which is a joint venture between Shell and BP,
provides for 35% of South Africa's refining capacity, and is located in Durban.
Engen Refinery spokesperson Herb Payne said he would comment
Fuel Retailers' Association (FRA) chief executive Reggie
Sibiya said it feared petrol stations may run dry during the strike.
"In terms of determining when it will run dry depends
on how organised the strike is," he said. "But we are not going to
see it today as most stations have stock."
Sibiya urged motorists to be prepared and not panic.
"Hopefully, unions and employers (will) reach a speedy
About 70 000 fuel workers from Ceppwawu and the General
Industries Workers Union of SA (Giwusa) joined the strike on Monday.
They were demanding a minimum salary of R6 000 per month and
a 40-hour work week.
Ceppwawu policy coordinator John Appolis told Independent
Newspapers that hundreds of companies would be affected, including Sasol [JSE:SOL],
Engen, BP, Caltex, Total, Adcock Ingram Holdings [JSE:AIP] and Tiger Brands [JSE:TBS].
Giwusa had members in the pharmaceutical, glass, chemical
and fast-moving consumer goods, fibre and particle board industries.
The union's president Charles Phahla told reporters on
Sunday that workers would march to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg on
The strike entered its second week on Monday.
About 170 000 engineering and steel workers from the
National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Metal and Electrical Workers
Union (Mewusa), the United Association of SA (Uasa), Solidarity, and the SA
Equity Workers Association (Saewa) downed tools last week.
They were demanding wage increases ranging from 10% to 13%,
and a ban on labour brokers.
Police said violence had erupted, resulting in one death and
six people being injured.