Double digit wage increase unreasonable: Sapia

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pretoria - While the cost of living has been considered in the latest petroleum wage offer, a double digit wage increase demand is unreasonable, the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) says.

"We have placed a considered offer on the table and have taken into account all factors such as the basic minimum wage, cost of living and have compared our wage offer to that of other sectors," Sapia executive director, Avhapfani Tshifularo, said on Tuesday.

Unions, including the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu), took the revised offer to workers on Monday.

Solidarity, who joined the strike on Sunday, said it would take about two days for it to consult its members on the offer. Deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann said the new offer was between eight and 10 percent, with the latter being for the lowest paid workers. Initially, the employer had offered a wage increase of between four and seven percent.

Intimidation of workers who are not on strike continued to impact on the delivery of fuel, with Sapia working closely with the South African Police Service to protect non-striking staff and to ensure the delivery of fuel.

"Contingency plans are constantly monitored and revised to adapt to the ongoing situation. Sapia wishes to reassure the public that refineries are still operating at a normal level and its members are working hard to address any backlog."

It added that it is looking forward to speedy feedback from the unions involved.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has urged both labour and business to reach a resolution in the petrochemical industry strike, saying the industry was critical to South Africa's economy.