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Solidarity continues with slow strike at Sasol


Sasol and Solidarity will meet again in front of CCMA on 3 October

SECUNDA – Sasol and Solidarity trade union could not reach an agreement after their first meeting at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Wednesday, 19 September.

Solidarity members striked in front of Sasol's main gate, Charlie 1, on Thursday, 6 September.

This came after the CCMA offered to act as mediator between Sasol and Solidarity after mostly white Sasol employees began striking on Thursday, 6 September in front of Sasol’s main gate, Charlie 1, because of Sasol’s shares scheme, Khanyisa, that only benefits black employees.

The mediation session was postponed to 3 October to get more clarity on the wording of the final mining charter.

The final mining charter is at the Cabinet for approval.

Dr Dirk Hermann, chief executive of Solidarity, said according to the mining charter, all workers, regardless of race, must be part of personnel share schemes.

“Sasol owns coal mines and thus they must comply with the rules of the mining charter.

“Negotiations about the mining charger took years and the business sector, the government, trade unions and local communities were involved in the negotiations.

“Sasol, with their Khanyisa scheme, wants to break the agreement that was reached between the different parties.

“The basis of the negotiations were that workers are workers and can not be divided on race.

“Sasol is busy doing the opposite and that will cause division and racial issues.”

Dr Hermann said Solidarity members will continue with their slow strike at Sasol.

“According to Sasol’s reports, they were 96 hours behind with the shutdown,” said Dr Hermann on Wednesday, 19 September.

“Solidarity also decided to expand the strike to a day of protest whereby all 180 000 of our members will be involved.

“It is not only in Sasol’s interest to resolve this dispute, but also in the interest of the whole South Africa.”

Solidarity approached the High Court over Nedlac that said Solidarity members may not take part in a strike.

“The court reversed the decision made by Nedlac that said our members could not protest or take part in a legal strike action.”

Solidarity appeared before Nedlac again on Friday, 21 September.

Mr Alex Anderson, head of Group Media Relations at Sasol, said at the mediation session at the CCMA, Sasol reaffirmed its commitment to transformation and inclusive growth through its Board-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) programmes of which Khanyisa is an important component.

“We reiterated our position that transformation is, and will remain, a business, social and moral imperative for Sasol,” said Mr Anderson.

“Sasol Khanyisa presents but one step that Sasol is taking to bring about a more inclusive economy by affording an opportunity specifically to previously disadvantaged groups, as defined by the Department of Trade and Industry’s B-BBEE codes.

“We look forward to further constructive engagements with Solidarity when we reconvene.”

Mr Anderson explained Phase 1 of Sasol’s Khanyisa shares scheme and said Solidarity originally declared a dispute against Sasol in January this year, objecting to the exclusion of white employees from Khanyisa Phase 2.

“After a second round of CCMA discussions, the CCMA issued a certificate of non-resolution in May this year after not being able to reach common ground,” said Mr Anderson.

“A certificate of non-resolution does not imply that Solidarity is correct or that Sasol is wrong, it means that the parties could not find any middle ground, and gives permission to Solidarity to withdraw labour and protest in a safe manner.

“We value Solidarity’s relationship with Sasol and will ensure that we keep the lines of communication open between us.”

He further said on 1 June this year that Sasol officially launched Khanyisa after having received shareholder approval on 17 November last year.

“Our intention is to create meaningful financial benefits for approximately 230 000 black public shareholders and qualifying employees and to achieve 25 per cent direct and indirect black ownership of Sasol South Africa.

“We are aware of negative reports and sentiment expressed from various quarters of society against Khanysa.

“These reports are largely premised on a misunderstanding of elements of the transaction pertaining to employee participation.

“The qualifying criteria for Khanyisa Phase 1 are all permanent Sasol employees, regardless of race, tenure or seniority, who were participants of Sasol Inzalo and were still actively employed on 1 June this year.

“They are eligible for R100 000 worth of Sasol Ordinary shares or Sasol BEE Ordinary Shares which will vest in 2021.

“There were 6 313 white employees and 11 92 black employees in this phase at the beginning of the transaction.

“Phase 2 of Khanyisa is extended to our black permanent employees (African, Indian and Coloured) as defined by the DTI Codes of Good Practice.

“Qualifying employees of Sasol Khanyisa will receive equal shareholding across the orginasation.

“The employees who are part of Phase 2 are eligible for 1 240 rights shares which will vest in June 2028 or the earlier of settlement of funding obligations.

“This means that the rights to shares are fully funded through national vendor financing and any dividends declared over the next 10 years will be used to service the funding obligations and create net value at the end of the empowerment period for participants.

“There were 18 282 black employees involved in Phase 2 at the beginning of the transaction.

“Sasol Khanyisa is not part of Sasol’s employee remuneration or benefit structures.

“It was specifically designed to address the ownership component of the B-BBEE Codes and therefore Khanyisa primarily focuses on the inclusion of black employees and public shareholders.”



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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