COMMENT

Sasol workers commence with strike vote because of race exclusion – Solidarity

Union says company is telling its white employees that they're not regarded as worthy enough

Sasol workers commence with strike vote because of race exclusion


21 August 2018

Trade union Solidarity has confirmed that it would commence with member meetings with its members at Sasol today in order to obtain their mandate regarding a possible strike at the company. 

This follows after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in a historical ruling earlier this year gave the trade union permission to strike due to the exclusion based on race in the workplace. This was after Sasol announced at the end of last year that its previous employee empowerment scheme, Inzalo, will be replaced by a new empowerment scheme, Khanyisa. However, this employee-share transaction does not make provision for white employees at all.  

According to Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Deon Reyneke, Sasol also said through its Chief Executive Stephen Cornell that it would not change or amend its inclusion measures with regard to Khanyisa, despite the fact that the CCMA agreed with the trade union in its dispute with the employer regarding its blatant exclusion on the basis of race.  

“What Cornell is really telling his white employees is that the company does not regard them as worthy enough, and in reality he is challenging those employees to exercise their full rights,” Reyneke warned.

According to Reyneke, a system that divides ordinary employees according to race is a recipe for racial tension. Such tension is already palpable at Sasol. “Solidarity members are not going to let it happen that they are being excluded simply because of their race. It would, however, appear as if Mr Cornell is not taking that into account, and that he considers it to be just  to exclude someone simply because of the colour of his skin, even though he might have been a faithful Sasol employee for the past 35 years,” Reyneke said.

Solidarity members will now air their concerns in a strike ballot. “Solidarity members, who are skilled employees, are not afraid to exercise their lawful rights, thus demonstrating that they are worthy indeed,” Reyneke concluded.


Issued by Deon Reyneke, Deputy General Secretary: Solidarity, 21 August 2018