S.Africa’s fuel workers reject 8 pct pay increase

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa’s fuel workers union has rejected a minimum 8 percent wage increase and is holding out for a double-digit hike, the union’s chief negotiator said on Tuesday, signalling a week-long industry strike is likely to drag on.

The strike has left filling stations across the country dry and could cost Africa’s top economy billions of rand in lost output.

Talks between the industry and the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (CEPPWAWU) are at a deadlock, said Jerry Nkosi, the union’s chief negotiator, told Reuters.

“We are not reaching an agreement because the employers are not listening to our demands. We are not happy with the revised offer,” he said.

On Monday employers raised their wage offer to between 8 and 10 percent, depending on the employment level. The previous offer was for a hike of between 4 and 7 percent, while unions have asked for 13 percent.

The smaller Solidarity union representing workers in the paper and pulp industry accepted the offer on condition that any revisions to the increases be implemented for its members as well.

Strikes are looming in South Africa’s gold and platinum sectors which could threaten global supplies at a time when commodity prices are red hot.

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