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Gas strike halts South Africa

Gretchen Wilson Aug 6, 2007


Scott Jagow: In South Africa, the price of oil isn’t the problem. Workers at a huge oil refinery walked off the job last week and it’s paralyzing South Africa’s oil and gas industry, not to mention people who drive. Gretchen Wilson reports from Johannesburg.

Gretchen Wilson: At a gas station in central Johannesburg, attendants wave motorists on. The pumps are dry. Drivers who deliver the fuel are on strike.

Chris Ncube manages the station. He says he usually sees 500 customers a day.

Chris Ncube: Am I going to get back my customers? Business-wise, it’s bad!

South Africa’s gas retailers say they’re losing nearly $2 million dollars a day because of the strike, and many South African drivers are out of gas.

Adele Pretorius is on foot, running what errands she can.

Adele Pretorius: I haven’t had fuel since Friday. I’ve had to sit at home.

When the gas will be flowing again is anybody’s guess. A new deal is on the table, but both sides are keeping it under wraps.

Workers have demanded 10 percent wage increase. They also want more maternity leave and a 40-hour work week.

In Johannesburg, I’m Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.

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