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Shell SA calms fuel shortage fears as strike hits

Ceppwawu has called an indefinite strike over a pay hike dispute.

FILE: The Shell Ultra City on the N2 in Macassar, Cape Town. Picture: Google Earth.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Shell South Africa says it's put contingency plans in place after thousands of workers in the petroleum manufacturing sector downed tools.

The Chemical, Energy, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) has called an indefinite strike over a pay hike dispute.

The union wants a 9% increase. The national petrol employers association has offered 6.5%.

Shell SA Chairman Bonang Mohale said: 'It's unfortunate that they've [the talks] broken down but urgently we are convening the meeting so we can resume. The motorists have nothing to fear at the moment because this is a 30 billion litre per annum market."

While petrol attendants will still report for duty, Mohale adds motorists have little to worry about.

"When there's a strike that last for about four weeks, there will still be more than enough fuel to go around."

At the same time, Ceppwawu's Clement Chitja said: "Come Monday, they are going to picket again. At the moment we have not foreseen when the strike will end but we know that it will end when the employer has succumbed to our demands."