An industrial action by the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (CEPPAWU) is scheduled to begin at 06:00 on Thursday July 28 2016, according to the Automobile Association (AA).

The AA advises all motorists to be aware of the planned action and to take the necessary steps to ensure they have fuel.

“It is our understanding that the strike will affect all refineries and depots of petroleum companies. This strike does not include petrol pump attendants, but will start to impact motorists once the pumps at petrol stations start to run dry,” explained the AA.

Accordingly, the association has advised motorists to ensure they top up their fuel tanks as regularly as reasonably possible. In addition, the AA said motorists should avoid taking unnecessary journeys, as well as stop-start driving to reduce fuel use.

“Driving with an air-conditioner on, speeding, and driving in peak hour traffic will consume fuel quicker. We, therefore, advise motorists to adjust their driving patterns as far as possible to ensure that the fuel in their tanks lasts that bit longer,” advised the AA.

It said it is unclear how long this industrial action will last, but motorists should monitor media, and social media reports, for updates.

The energy workers plan to strike over wages it said on Wednesday. Around 23 000 workers in the petrochemical and pharmaceutical sectors are expected to down tools, Clement Chitja, head of collective bargaining, said.

“We want a deal of 9% in one year,” Chitja told Reuters, adding that employer associations were offering less and looking for multi-year agreements.

SA is a net importer of refined petroleum products and a prolonged strike could lead to shortages ahead of municipal elections in August.

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