Shell, BP Pay Talks Set to Resume in South Africa Tomorrow to End Walkout
“We are consulting our members with a view to going back to the negotiating table tomorrow,” Clement Chitja, a spokesman for the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union, said today by mobile phone. While the union, one of four on strike, may temper some demands, it won’t settle for pay increases of less than 10 percent, he said.
Shell, BP and Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s Engen Ltd. unit have reported shortages at gas stations in Gauteng province, which consumed 37 percent of the country’s gasoline in 2009, as protests by striking workers hampered truck deliveries. Sasol Ltd. (SOL), the country’s largest producer of motor fuels, reduced production at its Secunda plant.
Employers are offering an 8 percent wage increase, exceeding consumer inflation of 4.6 percent. The inflation data can’t be used as a benchmark because the calculation used to compile it is flawed, underestimating price gains, Chitja said.
Mxolisi Ratsibe, chairman of the National Petroleum Employers Association, didn’t immediately respond to a message left on his mobile phone today.
South Africa has six refineries with a combined processing capacity 692,000 barrels a day. They distribute fuels, mainly gasoline, by pipelines, rail, sea and road to about 200 depots, which in turn send fuel to about 4,600 gas stations, according to the South African Petroleum Industry Association’s website.
The country consumed about 11.3 billion liters (3 billion gallons) of gasoline and 9.1 billion liters of diesel in 2009.