Eighty-three per cent of trade union Solidarity’s members at petrochemicals giant Sasol’s Secunda operations have voted in favour of strike action regarding Sasol’s exclusion of white employees from an employee share ownership plan.
Solidarity is also planning a national protest in which people from all over the country can participate.
Sasol’s empowerment scheme, Khanyisa, has terms in which black employees will get shares worth R500 000. “This decision by Sasol will divide employees into racial camps and increase racial tension,” argues Solidarity CE Dr Dirk Hermann.
On Monday, Sasol confirmed it has not received industrial action notification from Solidarity.
Sasol stated that Solidarity originally declared a dispute against Sasol in January, objecting to the exclusion of white employees from Sasol Khanyisa Phase 2.
After a second round of Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) discussions, the CCMA issued a certificate of nonresolution in May.
Sasol officially launched Sasol Khanyisa in June, with the intention to create financial benefits for about 230 000 black shareholders and qualifying employees, and to achieve 25% direct and indirect black ownership of Sasol South Africa.
“We are aware of negative reports and sentiment expressed from different quarters of society against Khanyisa. These reports are largely premised on a misunderstanding of elements of the transaction pertaining to employee participation,” Sasol stated.
Employee participants in Sasol Khanyisa Phase 1 are all permanent Sasol employees, regardless of race, tenure or seniority, who were participants of the previous scheme Inzalo, and still actively employed on June 1.
Phase 2 of Khanyisa is extended to black, Indian and coloured employees.
Qualifying employees in Khanyisa will receive equal shareholding across the organisation, with qualifying criteria including being a Sasol employee who participated in the Sasol Inzalo scheme, and who was permanently employed on June 1.
There were 6 313 white employees and 11 962 black employees in this phase at the start of the transaction.
All black employees who were permanently employed on June 1, participated in Phase 2 and are eligible for 1 240 Sasol Khanyisa rights to 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 notional vendor financing and any dividends declared over the next ten 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 in Phase 2 at the start of the transaction,” said Sasol.
The company stated Khanyisa is not part of Sasol’s employee remuneration or benefit structures, but rather specifically designed to address the ownership component of the broad-based black economic empowerment codes and, therefore, Khanyisa primarily focuses on the inclusion of black employees.