Trade union Solidarity and Sasol continue with their battle on the exclusion of white employees from Sasol’s new empowerment scheme, Khanyisa.
They both presented their formal arguments before the CCMA Commissioner on Wednesday, 9 May.
The Deputy General Secretary at Solidarity, Mr Deon Reyneke said it was a huge victory for them, since the ruling was in their favour.
“In this historic finding, the CCMA found that employees are permitted to strike because of the exclusion based on race from the Sasol employee share scheme.
This followed after Sasol announced at the end of last year that its existing employee empowerment scheme, Inzalo, which came to an end on 18 May 2018, would be replaced by a new empowerment scheme, Khanyisa.
However, this employee share transaction does not make provision for white employees at all,” Mr Reyneke added.
According to Reyneke, the new scheme consists of two phases, the second phase of which only applies to workers of the designated group.
“The scheme makes a clear distinction between two categories of employees, which in our opinion is unfair.
We have received formal feedback from Sasol, stating that it would be contrary to true and meaningful transformation should white people also share in Khanyisa,” Reyneke said.
He further mentioned that in its dispute at the CCMA the trade union argued that white employees can go on strike to obtain similar benefits.
According to Solidarity statement, since January this year, Sasol had been trying to invalidate the trade union as well as its members’ grievances by means of technical arguments. “Sasol has contended that white employees may not go on strike as the matter concerned a dispute of rights and that the courts are thus the appropriate forum to deal with the dispute,” Reyneke said.
However, in the light of all the arguments, the Commissioner found that Solidarity’s dispute should be classified as a matter of common interest which should therefore be further investigated by the CCMA.
“Sasol tried to come up with legal gymnastics in an attempt to gain time.
However, this win paves the way for us as far as the dispute itself is concerned.
“We hope Sasol will get new insights during the upcoming mediation process, and that it will take white workers’ grievances to heart so a settlement that will include all employees can be reached,” Reyneke concluded.
However, Sasol released a statement to its employees saying that the Commissioner ruled for the matter to be referred for further conciliation.
It further mentioned that Sasol is now awaiting for the date from the CCMA for conciliation discussions.
“The Commissioner has not issued a certificate of non-resolution, but in her ruling instructed the parties to continue the conciliation process.
Sasol will adhere to the process outlined by the Commissioner.
Transformation, enabled by key Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) legislation, is a national imperative to which Sasol is firmly committed.
We remain confident that we have designed the Khanyisa transaction to incorporate what we consider to be the most appropriate and best features of B-BBEE structures in South Africa.
Phase 2 of Sasol Khanyisa is aimed at specifically advancing the transformation of the South African economy and Sasol, as Khanyisa is an important component of our entire B-BBEE strategy.
We remain committed to open and honest engagement with all our trade union partners.”