Security companies and police have been escorting tankers delivering petrol to dry spots around the country.
Oil companies confirmed their drivers were being protected during the strike by workers in the petroleum sector.
And South Africa’s six oil refineries may be forced to reduce production if the strike is not resolved soon.
Avhapfani Tshifularo, executive director of the SA Petroleum Industry Association, said yesterday: “What do you do with a product that keeps on coming from your refinery and is not going out on the other end? You can’t just operate as if it’s normal.”
He said the association, which represents the country’s seven major oil companies, would know by mid-week whether the refineries were considering cutting production.
More than 300 petrol stations, especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, were forced to shut down this weekend because they had run out of petrol.
Long queues of motorists at service stations in most parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria became a common sight this week.
The strike, by more than 70000 workers from the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union; the South African Chemical Workers Union and the General Industrial Workers Union of South Africa, began on Monday.
Workers are demanding a minimum monthly wage of R6000 and a 40-hour work week.
And now the South African Municipal Workers’ Union is considering strike action.
The union rejected a wage offer of 6.08% and a subsequent facilitator’s proposal of 7.5%, so leaders will meet this week to decide when to down tools – depending on the outcome of the next round of negotiations.
Samwu general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo said: “We are likely to see the rubbish not being removed again …”
Wage negotiations in the water sector have also bogged down, with the union rejecting a wage offer of 4%.