You’d be forgiven for being puzzled by trade union Solidarity’s insistence that white employees be included in Sasol’s new employee share scheme, which is intended to bolster transformation and increase black ownership. The union claims it’s in direct violation of the mining empowerment charter and the general practice at mines. The company disagrees. After months of discussions common ground cannot be reached. But it is best not to underestimate the well-oiled machine that is Solidarity. Whether by sheer luck or by design, the union, which declared a dispute in January, has begun a three-week strike that coincides with a large planned maintenance shutdown at Sasol operations. The tactic of choice is "work to rule", which entails doing the bare minimum in an attempt to slow down the process. Solidarity’s 6,300 members are typically highly skilled and constitute 20% of the company’s 31,000 permanent employees. It’s not immediately obvious that the industrial action will have a notabl...

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