The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) wants to assist in defusing the strike launched by trade union Solidarity at Sasol, over its empowerment share scheme.
According to a statement issued by Solidarity on Friday, the CCMA addressed a letter to both the trade union and the energy and chemical company, stating its intentions to intervene.
“Solidarity has since formally informed the CCMA that the trade union would participate in the process,” the union said.
The CCMA has indicated that it will appoint a special commissioner to assist the parties.
Solidarity, which represents 6 300 workers at Sasol, launched the strike over Sasol’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment share scheme – Sasol Khanyisa Phase 2. Solidarity is arguing that the share scheme is not inclusive of all Sasol’s employees.
The strike, likened to a military operation by Solidarity’s chief executive Dirk Hermann, commenced on Monday and is intended to last for three weeks. Workers are withdrawing from units in Sasolberg and Secunda where shutdowns are scheduled to take place for annual maintenance, Hermann explained to media earlier this week.
Additionally, Solidarity had sent a letter of complaint to the New York Stock Exchange, stating that the scheme violated a section in the US Civil Rights Act.
Hermann said although Solidarity welcomed the CCMA’s intervention, the trade union would continue with the strike. Solidarity will approach the Labour Court in Johannesburg next week to obtain permission for all its members across South Africa to go on strike, in solidarity with members working at Sasol, said Hermann.
The decision to seek permission from the courts comes as the National Economic Development and Labour Council had rejected Solidarity’s initial application.
In turn, Sasol has said it has contingency plans in place to minimise the potential disruption.
“Sasol’s operations and shutdown schedule for Sasolburg and Secunda continue as planned with no further activities impacted from the decrease in attendance by Solidarity members yesterday (Thursday), as they attended a strike picket outside our Secunda complex,” the company said in a statement it issued on Friday.
“Our contingency measures remain in place to minimise any further impact,” the statement read.
Media is yet to receive confirmation from Sasol that it has received a letter from the CCMA. — Fin24