Fuel panic buying strains supply chain

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pretoria - With over 100 petrol stations running dry, the Fuel Retailers' Association (FRA) says panic buying is not helping the supply chain.

"We are awaiting information but filling stations are running dry. There were about 155 stations in Gauteng that were dry and we had information yesterday that 50 petrol stations in KwaZulu-Natal were dry," said FRA CEO, Reggie Sibiya, on Thursday.

He said it was possible that refineries had underplayed figures.

The FRA is a registered employers' organisation which monitors and becomes involved where necessary with aspects of retail fuel governance.

"Panic buying doesn't help, it actually puts more strain on the supply chain," said Sibiya.

He said there were issues at the three depots in Gauteng, namely Alrode, Langlaagte and Watloo, with supplies not being able to leave the depots.

"There were also reports of intimidation [from striking workers]," said Sibiya.

The association said it had asked the Labour and Energy Departments to intervene in the matter.

On Monday, members of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) marched in Johannesburg on their first day of strike action. Ceppwawu has been joined in the protest action by the General Industries Workers Union of SA and the SA Chemical Union.

Workers are demanding minimum wages of R6 000 and transport allowances, among others.

"The latest at this stage is that the National Bargaining Council for the Chemical Industries has proposed dates for a meeting, starting tomorrow. The unions will attend," said head of the collective bargaining at Ceppawu, Clement Chitja.