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Pretoria - A Pretoria petrol attendant had a lucky escape on Wednesday after his striking colleagues pursued him from a Caltex service station, where he was working, to a nightclub where he was saved by police.
According to a witness, he started running away after a group of about 30 striking attendants approached the service station in Stanza Bopape Street in Hatfield.
“They chased after the guy and he entered the premises of Flamingo Night Club. Fortunately for him there were police officers nearby who rushed to the scene and quickly secured the premises before the guy could be reached by the irate striking attendants,” said the witness, who declined to be named.
The police closed the gate to the premises and told the striking workers to disperse, he said. They left after exchanging a few unpleasant words with the police.
They said they were going to visit other service stations and spares shops to see if there were any employees not heeding the strike call. Police kept a watchful eye on them, the witness said.
A service station at the intersection of Stanza Bopape Street and Gordon Road was operating, but only with a skeleton staff.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said on Wednesday that vehicle production would stop by the end of the week as a result of the strike in the automotive components industry.
“The strike will further disrupt vehicle manufacturing operations,” Naamsa president Johan van Zyl said.
“By the end of the current week, all the major vehicle producers will again be unable to operate as a result of the unavailability of locally produced equipment components,” he said.
Thousands of petrol attendants, workers at component manufacturers and retailers, panel beaters, car and spare parts dealers, fitment workshops, and dealerships, downed tools over wages on Monday.
The industrial action followed a three-week strike in the automotive sector, during which production lines at major vehicle manufacturers, including Toyota, BMW and Nissan, shut down and production was halted.
The automotive sector strike ended on Monday.
Van Zyl said aggregate production losses at vehicle manufacturing level amounted to more than 45 000 vehicles so far, which translated into a production revenue loss of about R20-billion.
“These figures will rise further as a result of the current strike in the component manufacturing industry,” he said.
The strikes had damaged the country’s status as a reliable supplier to international markets and could negatively affect future export contracts.
“Unless the strike is resolved in the next few days, the damage to the prospects of the automotive industry and on foreign investment will be immeasurable and will take years to redress,” he said.