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Innovation threatens jobs of gas station workers

NASSAU — Gas retailers are welcoming the addition of automated payment at the pumps, but warned RUBIS not to lay off workers that depend on the stations for employment.

As part of the French multinational’s revamp of its 20 gas stations in The Bahamas, automated payment will be included so customers can swipe a card rather than pay an attendant. In fact, a test programme is being piloted at the Faith Avenue location.

In other countries, self-service gas stations are commonplace.

But Philip Kemp, president of the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association, believes Bahamians are used to full service at the pumps.

He said that locals have no intention of doing it themselves, even if the process is automated.

“Automated won’t mean there will be full service at the pumps. You still have the stores. Lots of people pay in cash,” he said. “Staff reductions won’t happen right away. Maybe over time.”

Aussie Moore, another gas retailer, said staff reductions were the “first thing that came to mind” when he heard about the automated system.

He told Guardian Business that RUBIS should keep the stations full service.

“Our means of keeping people employed is limited. This is one of the ways. My feeling is we have to continue full service as long as we can to keep people employed,” according to Moore.

That said, the retailer is not against automatic payment. It can be more convenient, and overall retailers have praised RUBIS for improving the stations, introducing new equipment and generally approaching business with a more friendly and personable demeanor. (Nassau Guardian)

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