Thu, 11 Oct, 2012
“If a customer wants Koo baked beans, he wants Koo baked beans.” If this is true, then the words of Grahamstown Pick n Pay store manager Johan Pienaar could mean that a lot of customers will walk away disappointed from local shops.
Whether it's baked beans or any other product that isn't being transported into the city because of the national truck drivers' strike, local businesses are starting to sweat. Since 24 September truckers belonging to the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) have been striking for higher wage increases.
Effects of the nearly three week-long strike are visibly trickling down to local businesses. Many Grahamstown shops reported to Grocott's Mail that having stock delivered from Port Elizabeth hasn't been difficult.
But getting the goods driven to PE from cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town have been problematic. Pienaar said Pic n Pay has felt a “major” effect, with mostly Tiger Brands items, including Koo baked beans and Oros, not making their way to their shelves.
While other stock keeps the business going, Pienaar was aware that if customers want a particular brand they won't be satisfied until they get it. Pienaar expected the Koo baked beans and other Tiger Brand products to arrive today (Friday).
Another local food supplier is also feeling the pinch. Co-owner of New Street's Montagu and Fiddlestix shops Bev Armstrong said they're suffering because their stock isn't being delivered. “It's difficult when you don't know what's happening or when the strike is going to be over,” Armstrong said, adding that the Fiddlestix side of the business, which sells home-made meals, isn't affected.
They are expecting their stock to arrive this weekend. Sales manager at Market Square VW Grahamstown Gary Botha said their vehicle sales are unaffected, but the branch's parts manager Renier van Huysteen said their work has been slowed down, especially where Castrol oil products are needed.
Marius Lombard, owner of Dupli Print, said his main supplier in PE gets stock from Johannesburg, but they haven't felt the strike much. Hi-Q Lens Auto owner Robert van der Merwe said while their tyre orders from Durban are up to date, since the strike began loads from Johannesburg have taken five days to arrive instead of the usual two days.
Also unable to work as fast as they'd like are staff at Hyundai Grahamstown. Branch owner Steven van der Merwe said the Len's Auto Repairs section of the business is being held back because couriers haven't been able to deliver necessary parts.
Only limited Hyundai models are out of stock, van der Merwe said, which are two weeks behind schedule.