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UPDATE 1-White Sasol workers stage protest over black share scheme

Mon, 3rd Sep 2018 10:29

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Workers from South Africa'smainly white Solidarity union staged a go-slow protest at thepetrochemicals firm Sasol on Monday over a share schemeoffered exclusively to black staff, and said they would begin afull strike on Thursday.

The union said it would file a complaint to U.S. regulatorsover the "discriminative" share scheme. Sasol is the worldleader in technology that converts coal and gas to fuel, andalso operates in the United States.

"We have a staggered industrial action. Today, we have ago-slow. Our 6,300 members will carry out their duties, but in aslow manner. We plan to ramp up to a full-blown strike onThursday," said Dirk Hermann, Solidarity's chief executive.

"We are planning to lay a complaint over the scheme withU.S. regulators, this week or by early next week."

Sasol, which employs around 26,000 people in South Africa,said Solidarity had notified it on Monday of its intent tostrike.

A Sasol spokesman said he would give an update on thego-slow later in the day.

The energy giant has sold 25 percent of its local operationsto qualifying black employees, a foundation and the black publicin a 21 billion rand ($1.42 billion) deal financed by thecompany.

Sasol has said the scheme is not a benefit but a mechanismdesigned to meet South Africa's rules on black economicempowerment.

Under the rules, South African companies are required tomeet quotas on black ownership, employment and procurement aspart of a drive to reverse decades of exclusion under apartheid.($1 = 14.7478 rand)(Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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