'Petrol attendant strike won't have a big impact'

RMI CEO Jakkie Olivier says contingency plans will minimise the impact of the strike.

Striking NUMSA members march in Randburg on Monday 9 September.Picture:Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As thousands of members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) prepare to hold marches in three provinces today, the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) says a strike by petrol attendants is not expected to have a big impact.

A strike by petrol attendants, panelbeaters and car and spare part dealers officially kicked off on Monday.

The industrial action, led by Numsa, is as a result of a breakdown in wage talks with employers.

Workers are demanding a double digit wage increase, equating to a hike of around R30 per hour while employers are offering seven percent.

The metalworkers union will today hand over memorandums to the Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) and RMI offices in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

But RMI CEO Jakkie Olivier says contingency plans by employers should be sufficient enough to minimise any impact.

"It would appear Numsa is targeting service stations for their own reasons. The strike should not impact the delivery of fuel to the customer or to motorists as business owners would've put certain contingency plans in place."

Earlier this week, Shell South Africa General Manager Bonang Mohale also assured motorists that contingency plans are in place to mitigate the impact of the strike.

Mohale said filling stations are prepared.

"We happen to have this strike season almost every year for the last five years. We have now become very effective and efficient in ensuring that indeed there are contingency plans."

Meanwhile, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday expressed concern about the impact the strike may have on businesses.

The chamber's Viola Manuel said if one looks at overseas trends, the jobs of petrol attendants could become obsolete.

"We are trusting it's been explained to the petrol attendants specifically that the international trend would really make their jobs obsolete if we were to actually go for self-service which is happening in the rest of the world."