Majority-white South African labor union Solidarity has announced plans to launch a three-week strike at petrochemicals firm Sasol on Monday, September 3, over a share ownership plan that white workers allege is discriminatory. Solidarity's 6300 members employed by Sasol reportedly plan to hold multiple protest actions in the coming weeks, including a "national day of support" for the strike on Wednesday, September 5; Solidarity has called on South Africans to refrain from patronizing Sasol fuel stations on Wednesday to show support for the workers. A total strike will begin on Thursday and will be accompanied by a mass rally at the Secunda plant and Sasol coal mines. According to Solidarity, actions will then be focused at the Sasolburg plant. Coordinated actions between the main plants and Sasol coal mines are then planned; public demonstrations and associated transportation disruptions are possible in other cities as well. Sasol, which counts a total of around 26,000 employees at its local operations, has stated that it has activated contingency measures to minimize the strike's impact on operations. The strike is not expected to have a noticeable impact on fuel supply.
According to a union statement, this will be the "first time in the history of South Africa that white employees strike because of racial exclusion." The dispute is over the introduction of a new share ownership scheme only available to black employees. South African businesses are required to meet quotas guaranteeing levels of black involvement to counter decades of apartheid-era exclusion. In 2017, Sasol announced plans to increase black ownership levels at Sasol South Africa to a minimum of 25 percent.
Individuals present in South Africa are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to avoid all demonstrations as a precaution.
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