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Bloomberg: S. Africa Oil Workers Agree to Wage Deal, End Strike (Update1)

By Mike Cohen

Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) — South African oil industry workers ended a week-long strike that closed two refineries and left hundreds of filling stations dry, after reaching a pay accord with employers.

“The strike is over,” Welile Nolingo, general secretary of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Wood & Allied Workers Union, said today in a telephone interview from Johannesburg. “We hope that all workers will be back at work today.”

Under the agreement, workers at South Africa’s six refineries and fuel depots will receive 8.5 percent pay increases, backdated to July 1. South Africa’s inflation rate is 6.4 percent.

Hundreds of South Africa’s 4,600 filling stations ran dry after tanker drivers joined the strike, leaving oil companies unable to deliver fuel. The labor action also shut the Sapref refinery, the country’s largest, jointly owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, as well as a refinery owned by PetroSA. The plants will take at least four days to resume full production.

“We will rely on imports and fuel delivery contractors to ensure uninterrupted availability of all our different products,” Rams Ramashia, chairman of Sapref and BP’s South African unit, said by e-mail today. The wage settlement “can only be in the best interests of the country.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at [email protected]

Last Updated: August 7, 2007 02:18 EDT

 

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