Bloomberg News

South Africa Miners May Face Shortages If Fuel Strike Drags On

July 14, 2011

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- Open-cast mines in South Africa may run short of gasoline within a few days if a strike by fuel workers that started on July 11 continues, the Chamber of Mines said today.

Open-cast miners “usually keep a week’s worth of fuel in stock, so most should be able to last that long,” Dick Kruger, an assistant adviser at the Johannesburg-based chamber said by phone today. “If the strike drags on, then problems can really develop.”

South Africa’s annual round of wage talks threatens to trigger a wave of strikes this year. The action by members of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Products Union has led to fuel shortages at more than 150 gas stations in Gauteng Province, the country’s most-populous, and 50 in KwaZulu-Natal, the Fuel Retailers’ Association said today. The union didn’t answer calls.

Workers in the steel and engineering industry will today consider a revised pay offer from employers as a strike in the industry enters its 11th day, a union official said.

“We can’t disclose what those proposals are because talks are now at a sensitive stage,” Irvin Jim, the secretary general of the National Union Metalworkers of South Africa, or Numsa, said by phone today. The union will hold meetings with its 320,000 members to discuss the offer, he said.

Calls to the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa, which represents employers in the industry, weren’t immediately answered.

The National Union of Mineworkers said in an e-mailed statement that wage talks had deadlocked and it was “heading for a strike,” while the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corp. today said municipal workers may also take strike action as soon as next week.

--Editors: Philip Sanders, Vernon Wessels, Alastair Reed

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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