Normally when we all rush to the petrol station, it’s because there is a (another) petrol hike happening. Today, something entirely different may prompt the same response.

Between 15 000 and 23 000 employees in the petroleum industry are set to go on strike today. The Chemical, Energy, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) are striking for over salary increases and want a nine-percent wage hike. They also want collective bargaining rights and temporary employees to become permanent after a three-month probation period. With the struggling economy and weak global oil prices, it is not certain if CEPPWAWU demands can be met.  It also seems as if no one can say how long the strike will last.

Before you panic, jump in your car and rush to your nearest petrol station, breathe and read on.

The first important thing to note is there is no immediate fuel shortage.While Times Live reports that there is fear that the strike will affect all refineries and depots of petroleum companies, the National Petroleum Employer’s Association says there is currently enough fuel. A fuel shortage is dependant on how long the strike lasts and how intense it becomes. ENCA reports that the petrol strike does not extend to the forecourt staff negotiations with the Motor Industry Bargaining Council. This means that petrol attendants are not on strike and will still be on hand to help you. 

Times Live also reports that Sasol has a contingency plan in place to ensure minimum disruption during this time. They received word of the strike and drew up plans to ensure employees and contract workers are safe, and that their customers are inconvenienced as little as possible. The AA advises motorists to adjust their driving habits slighting to help make their fuel last longer. This includes no unnecessary journeys, avoid using the air con or heater (a hard task considering the extreme cold weather) and try not to do stop-start driving.

Our advice at this time is to ensure you car is filled up, but do not go and flood the petrol stations. There is fuel, there are attendants and you can fill up as normal. Just be mindful of how much petrol you use for the foreseeable future.

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