Transport strike hits fuel supplies

2012-10-02 13:46

Johannesburg - South Africa’s fuel suppliers are starting to feel the pinch as a strike by more than 20 000 truck drivers enters its second week, with deliveries to pumps delayed and stations running out of certain types of fuel, an industry body said on Tuesday.

The walkout by drivers asking for higher wages has affected 40% of fuel tanker trucks, it said, adding to pressure on Africa’s biggest economy from wildcat strikes by 75 000 miners in the platinum and gold sectors.

“We are operating under difficult challenges. We are seeing more and more delays of fuel trucks into service stations,” said Avhapfani Tshifularo, head of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia).

“More service stations will start running short of certain grades of fuel if it continues into next week,” he added.

The fuel suppliers in South Africa include Shell, BP, Total, Chevron, local petrochemicals group Sasol and Engen, which is majority-owned by Malaysian state oil group Petronas.

Hundreds of striking truck drivers marched in the centre of Johannesburg on Tuesday, chanting and waving cardboard placards, demanding a 12% rise in wages.

Employers have so far offered an increase of 8.5%.

“We drive big trucks but we don’t even make R2 000 ($240) a week. I only make that if I work overtime,” said David Mohlahlo, one of the protesters.

Talks between unions and the employers were expected to resume on Wednesday.

The strike by truckers has mainly impacted transport and logistics companies.

“We are severely affected,” said Marius Swanepoel, chief executive of logistics at Imperial Holding [JSE:IPL], whose fleet of 5 000 trucks hauls consumer goods and fuel.

“In some of our depots between 50% and 80% of our trucks are not on the road,” he added.

Rival Super Group [JSE:SPG] is losing up to R6m a week, chief executive Peter Mountford told Reuters.

"There are 3 000 trucks that are meant to be on the road but they are not,” he said.

Other affected companies include Grindrod [JSE:GND], Barloworld [JSE:BAW] and Bidvest [JSE:BVT]. Mining and manufacturing groups said they could suffer if a prolonged strike cut deliveries of diesel used to run heavy machinery.

A long strike could also affect electricity supply in South Africa, which relies on coal for 85% of its power. Almost a third of coal is moved by trucks, power utility Eskom said.

“There are five stations which are at risk of falling below their minimum days’ stock levels if the strike persists,” Eskom said.

An interruption in coal supplies would further strain Eskom, which is already struggling to meet rising demand for electricity and is hoping to avoid rolling blackouts that brought South Africa’s industry to its knees in early 2008.

  • marc.rule - 2012-10-02 14:11

    STUFF this give them 6% or fire the lot of them. there are many people in SA that do not have work. rather give them the chance.

      thabo.khumalo.9469 - 2012-10-02 14:48

      6% fire them using f words not a solution time to change government policy to socialism

  • makavelithedonkilluminati.shakur - 2012-10-02 14:11

    And soon they'll also feel another pinch when motorist start striking on the constant unneccessary fuel hikes taking place in S.A just to support Zuma and his wives. mxm

  • ndumiso.ndlovu.752 - 2012-10-02 14:14

    keep on striking until you get what you want comrades

      pierre.coetzee.7 - 2012-10-02 14:44

      And you and youe comrades will die of hunger you stupid fool!!

      paul.bester.50 - 2012-10-02 15:12

      And because of you and your like minded comrades whites will rule SA AGAIN, the past 20 years gone down the drain. We have patience, we are waiting !

      jackie.m.dickson - 2012-10-02 15:23

      Clap clap! Messers Ndlovu and Khumalo what a brilliant solution! Just one small thing though.....without us motorists there wont be a need for trucks either! Except I am thinking thats going to bug the cANCer a lot cos if taxpayers dont work then government cant steal! Bottom line is the trucking companies need to pay their staff better and the cANCer have to take less!

      sunet.nel.1 - 2012-10-02 16:17

      Not without truck, but without skills. Go out and do something, but no, you rather destroy and because of that you are behind, because burning trucks and schools will build economy and the future of your own children. You burn your own schools and ask why the white children is so well educated. This is exactly the same! Wake up!!

  • customdesign - 2012-10-02 14:15

    I don't think 12% is much to ask. on an R8000 salary that is R960- I'm sure it would damage them much more if they are not willing to pay. The violence from the strikers is inexcusable, but I think that is a fair annual pay increase. They are not asking for as much as the miners are asking.

  • yvonne.c.martin.71 - 2012-10-02 14:26

    Understand their plight but this won't help the economy.. Businesses will closed down resulting in further job losses. This is just one big vicious cycle and something is going to have to give and that will be business owners closing down::(((

  • yvonne.c.martin.71 - 2012-10-02 14:27

    And you sit without a job/business Thabo!!

      thabo.khumalo.9469 - 2012-10-02 14:39

      Yvonne be fair12% is nothing after seven days of sleeping on the sides of our freeways STOP ANY DRIVER AND ASK OR TAKE ONE TRIP BETWEEN JO'BURG AND CAPE TOWN AND TELL US AFTER THAT

      arm.witmens - 2012-10-02 14:51

      so you want to damage the entire country's economy, let people in other sectors lose their jobs, because you cannot understand the basic principle of skilled and unskilled labor?

  • yvonne.c.martin.71 - 2012-10-02 14:29

    Easy!! There are plenty of truck drivers without work. Bring in the army to escort them on route..

      ndumiso.ndlovu.752 - 2012-10-02 15:24

      you can do that if you want to see inocent people dying

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-10-02 14:38

    So typical SA. We were told there would be no fuel shortage resulting from this strike. Now it seems there will be a shortage. Why is it so hard to have accurate information in this country.

  • robert.dood.1 - 2012-10-02 15:01

    Sorry R2000 a week is not a wage? This explains the strike.

      wendy.webb.980 - 2012-10-02 17:29

      The question is, what does that R2000 represent? It could well be the nett pay, possibly after deduction of some garnishee orders. You'd think that by now journalists would have learnt from the Lonmin reporting fiasco to report the true, gross salaries, and to state where an amount quoted is the nett pay.

  • PeterJJhb - 2012-10-02 15:06

    I agree with their plight. But totally disagree with how they attempting to get there. @ Arm... Grow up. Have u been overseas currently? I have and it's not good. I will stay in SA thanks.

  • jackie.m.dickson - 2012-10-02 15:18

    Wow! What a surprise?! This after they have been saying there wont be a problem? How else do they think it will get to Gauteng?

  • freddy.vanwijk - 2012-10-02 18:40

    SASOL filling station at RHK ran out of diesel earlier this afternoon. Engen at Gateway next to the old JHB road still had supplies but for how long? The strikers have just forefeited their "XMAS boxes" in the eyes of the consumer! Accept what is on offer or go find job elseware but if you steal from anybody you will NEVER BE FORGIVEN!!!!

  • leonard.rom.7 - 2012-10-03 11:30

    am proud to be south African good for the strikes thanks to the greed of this government and eskom pricing what you expected!!

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