If one watches American movies one notices that drivers put their own petrol or “gas” in their tanks. Without any help from an attendant. Their “gas” price is lower than our petrol price. Filling a motor vehicle with petrol is not a very difficult thing to do. I would happily do it in return for a lower price at the pump and the saved tip.
So my cousin owns a petrol station. I asked him why he doesn’t have a self-service lane. The answer – ‘the law’. Act 58 of 2003 is the Petroleum Products Amendment Act, 2003. It says, inter alia, “(5) No person may make use of a business practice, method of trading, agreement, arrangement, scheme or understanding which is aimed at or would result in- self-service by consumers of prescribed petroleum products on the premises of a licensed retailer.” . In other words, these workers are protected by law and we, the consumer, are obliged, by law, to pay them to do what we are perfectly capable of doing by ourselves. Most South Africans who have the luxury of cars simply accept this as a further tax and a very necessary evil in order to employ the thousands of petrol attendants who would otherwise be unable to feed their families.
Now these ungrateful, unnecessary workers go on strike. Now petrol is a necessary item. Herein lies the problem. The law of the country has decided that these unnecessary people are actually doing an essential service (without petrol my safety and my health is immediately threatened). The consumers MAY NOT tap it themselves. Therefore the petrol attendants should be forbidden from going on strike because they are actually providing an essential, although ironically completely unnecessary, service. What should happen in response to this is that consumers should insist on self-service (at least self service lanes) so that the consumers can save money at the pumps by filling up themselves. Then where will these people be? Stuck at home without incomes. And they will have brought it on themselves. None of this “legal strike” rubbish – simply do away with the law which makes them workers in the first place. These workers are actually already a drain on the resources of a people paying a myriad unseen taxes. Time to do away with this particular one.