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BusinessDay (South Africa): Local refinery workers revise wage demands

REFINERY workers at plants owned by companies including BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron revised their wage demands yesterday in an attempt to end the strike that started on Tuesday.

The companies were expected to respond to the new demand by July 21, and “there’s a 50% chance of settlement”, Welile Nolingo, general secretary of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Wood & Allied Workers Union, said yesterday.

The union previously sought an 8% pay increase while employers, which also include Total and state-owned PetroSA, offered 6%.

Alfie Ngubo, chief negotiator for the oil companies, said he was confident a wage deal would be signed by July 26.

“The spirit of negotiations was very good,” he said. “We are all going back to our principals” to consult about the revised pay demand.

Both Nolingo and Ngubo declined to reveal the terms of the new demand.

The union’s threat to strike from July 21 unless its demands were met had been put on hold, pending negotiation on the revised demand, Nolingo said.

Meanwhile, Sasol, which is facing a strike by members of the trade union Solidarity, who are dissatisfied about a range of issues including management pay and consultation, said yesterday that all its production facilities were operating normally.

Sasol said production at its refineries, coal mines and chemical plants remained unaffected, as the strike by members of its largest labour union entered a second day.

Solidarity says it represents about 5000 of Sasol’s 30000 workers, while the company says the union represents about 3000.

“We had virtually normal attendance at all our operations last night and this morning,” said Andre Botha, a spokesman for Sasol.

Sasol had hoped to avert a strike by offering workers a wage increase of 6,5%, plus the equivalent of an additional 1,5% boost in housing allowances. Solidarity recommended that offer to its members, but it was rejected.

Sasol’s management would continue talks with Solidarity and was optimistic the strike would be resolved soon, Botha said. Bloomberg and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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