On Thursday, government mediators cleared the Solidarity trade union to strike in a dispute with energy giant Sasol over its plan to launch a share ownership scheme exclusively to black staff. Sasol plans to sell 25% of its local operations to mainly qualifying black employees in a R21bn deal that would be vendor-financed by the company. Solidarity called the scheme, dubbed the Sasol Khanyisa Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP), "blatant discrimination against loyal Sasol employees". But Sasol, world leader in the technology that converts coal and gas to fuel, defended the scheme on Thursday. "The Sasol Khanyisa ESOP is not a company benefit or compensation scheme," Sasol said in a statement. "It was specifically designed to address the ownership component of the broad-based BEE Codes and, therefore, primarily focuses on the inclusion of black employees, as defined by the Codes." Solidarity, which represents predominately white workers, said it would seek a mandate from members to ...

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