In a new turn of events in Solidarity’s strike at Sasol the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) addressed a letter to Solidarity and Sasol in which it offers its assistance to defuse Solidarity’s strike at Sasol. This step is taken in terms of section 150 of the Labour Relations Act. Solidarity has since formally informed the CCMA that the trade union would participate in the process. This step comes after thousands of workers yesterday participated in a protest march outside Sasol-Secunda as part of full-scale strike action.
In its letter the CCMA indicated that it would appoint a special commissioner to assist the parties. The CCMA also referred to its excellent track record in resolving disputes by means of the section 150 process.
According to Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann, the CCMA’s request comes as a surprise but is welcomed. “A dispute can only be resolved around the negotiating table. The parties must find a solution for the sake of everyone in South Africa, and we welcome the CCMA’s endeavours to become involved in finding a solution. In the past, we have had positive experiences with similar processes at the CCMA. The CCMA has also confirmed telephonically that at least one senior commissioner, but probably two, would be assigned to the process.
Transformation disputes where race plays a major role, are per definition divisive and detrimental to South Africa if prolonged for too long. If Sasol and Solidarity can find a solution to the dispute, it will not only be good for Sasol; it will also be a positive example for South Africa. However, we have not yet received any indication whether Sasol will participate in the process,” Hermann said.
Solidarity launched a go-slow strike at Sasol on Monday because of the company’s employee share scheme, Khanyisa, that excludes white employees. It is the first time in South Africa’s history that white employees go on strike because of racial exclusion. Meanwhile, Solidarity is continuing with its strike. The trade union has plans in place for at least three weeks of strike action and they plan to file a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission early next week about Sasol’s exclusion based on race. Solidarity will also approach the Labour Court in Johannesburg next week to obtain permission for all its members across South Africa to go on strike next week in solidarity with the Sasol members. The court application follows after Nedlac’s rejection of Solidarity’s earlier application.
Click here to view the letter from the CCMA