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White Sasol workers consider strike due to exclusion because of their race

White Sasol employees are called to be prepared to strike if their employer continues to exclude them from certain benefits due to their race.

The trade union Solidarity, accused Sasol of flaming racial tension in the workplace last week with their planned empowerment scheme, Khanyisa, that will be replacing the Inzalo scheme in May, as white employees will receive less shares than their colleagues.

This dispute is pending before the CCMA.

A conciliation meeting between the union and Sasol was scheduled for Thursday, 11 January, but was postponed to 19 March because Sasol appealed to certain legal technicalities.

According to Mr Deon Reyneke, deputy secretary of Solidarity, their team will address these technicalities.

They have also already requested talks with Sasol, but have not yet received feedback.

Dr Dirk Hermann, Solidarity’s CEO, said last week if no agreement is reached, it will be the first time ever that the CCMA might issue a certificate permitting white employees to strike.

Union members then vote on the matter.

Solidarity has 7 000 members in Sasol and represents a large part of the company’s technical and strategic skills.

An appeal on whites to support this possible strike is being circulated on social media and appears to be posted under the same name as the Boikot Jacaranda FM group.

Ms Matebello Motloung from Sasol said on Wednesday the company’s intention is not to create a divide between its black and white employees, but to participate in the transformation of the South African economy to the benefit of all citizens.

“In line with our values, we view transformation as a strategic, business and social imperative – it is the right thing to do.

“As a company proudly rooted in our South African heritage, we embrace our transformation objectives.”

Ms Motloung explained that Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) is a key enabler for economic transformation and inclusive growth, which is important for South Africa’s long term sustainability.

“B-BBEE is aimed at redressing the imbalances of the past by seeking to substantially and equitably transfer the ownership, management and control of South Africa’s financial and economic resources to the majority of its citizens.

“This is in order to ensure broader and meaningful participation in the economy by all citizens and especially black South African citizens (African, Indian and Coloured who were previously excluded from such participation) to achieve sustainable development and prosperity.”

According to Ms Matloung the transaction had key qualifying criteria for employees when Sasol Inzalo was initiated in 2008, stipulating the employee must be South African and a permanent employee in a non-managerial position, except when a manager is black.

Ms Matloung explained that Sasol Khanyisa, Sasol’s new B-BBEE transaction which was announced in September, also has key qualifying criteria for employees, namely eligible Inzalo employees who are those who are actively employed by Sasol on 18 May 2018, which includes the white Inzalo participants, and black (African, Indian, Coloured) permanent employees.

“For those who are unable to participate in the new transaction, Sasol offers many incentives and benefits as part of its Employee Value Proposition, which are available to all race groups,” Ms Motloung said.

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