NUMSA commits to fight against the application of essential services in petroleum


  • South Africa’s National Metalworkers Union said it was part of the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission arbitration to determine whether petroleum workers should be an essential service.
  • The NUMSA statement called the employers’ demand an attempt to bypass central bargaining processes.

South Africa’s National Metalworkers Union has pledged to fight a demand by employers in the oil industry to have workers declared as essential services, saying it would hamper their ability to strike.

According to the Labor Relations Act, an essential service is work the interruption of which would endanger the health and personal safety of some or all of the population in general. Essential services include officers from the South African Police Service and some Eskom staff.

The South African Petroleum Industry Association, the Fuel Retailers Association and Unitrans call on their employees to be an essential service.

NUMSA said it was part of the essential services committee of the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Board’s essential services committee to determine whether workers in the industry should be an essential service.

“The committee was asked to consider declaring the production, transportation and distribution of fuel as essential. If the committee were to declare this sector an essential service, it would mean that workers would not be able to exercise the right to strike, ”he added. said the NUMSA statement.

The NUMSA statement called the employers’ demand an attempt to bypass central bargaining processes. The statement urged employers to be open to renegotiating wages and terms in good faith, instead of preemptively undermining workers’ right to strike.

“As NUMSA, we oppose this demand on the grounds that if these employers succeed in persuading the committee, it will mean that thousands of workers will suddenly be unable to exercise their right to strike which is protected by our constitution,” said the press release.

According to Business Tech, gas stations across the country employed more than 70,000 pump attendants in 2019. Hearings by the CCMA’s essential services committee began Thursday, adjourned Friday and are expected to resume from the end of September.

None of the employer representatives mentioned above responded to requests for comment prior to this article’s submission.


Veronica J. Snell

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