New wage offer taken to members

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pretoria - The different unions involved in the current strike action are taking a revised offer to their members, says Solidarity deputy general secretary, Dirk Hermann.

This as unions, including members of the the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu), held talks with the National Petroleum Employers Association in Johannesburg on Monday.

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

The marathon talks, lasting for about 12 hours, resulted in a new wage offer of between eight and 10 percent across the board, said Solidarity. Initially, the employer had offered a wage increase of between four and seven percent.

Talks between unions were originally scheduled to be held at the weekend.

Solidarity joined the strike yesterday. The union wanted to go on strike on Thursday but due to a request from the employer for a 96-hour grace period, the union downed tools on Monday after a lack of communication from the employer, said Hermann.

"There are no talks that are scheduled for today as unions are taking the offer to their members, who will either accept or reject the offer. We are now in a period of consulting members," he explained, adding that Solidarity has already begun consulting its members.

Head of the collective bargaining at Ceppawu, Clement Chitja, and the association's spokesperson, Nothemba Noruwana, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The strike action, which begun last Monday, has resulted in fuel shortages.

In a statement on Monday, the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) said the strike action continues to have a significant impact on the northern areas of the country.

"Sapia and its members continue to employ contingency plans to mitigate the impact of the strike, but these plans are compromised by the increase in violent incidents aimed at intimidating non-striking staff and putting a strain on the supply of fuel to retailers."

The affected areas include Alrode, Waltloo, Langlaagte, Germiston and Mamelodi.

"The total number of service stations impacted changes continuously, almost on an hourly basis, depending on supply and demand and this situation is being very closely monitored and revised contingencies are in place to address the backlog," it said.

Meanwhile, Labour Minister Mildred Nelisiwe Oliphant will brief media on the strike and labour broking later today.