The business interest organisation Sakeliga wishes trade union Solidarity well with the strike against Sasol’s race-determined employee ownership scheme. Sakeliga also voiced its disapproval of and concern over race-based government policies that led to this state of affairs occurring in the first place.
Sakeliga CEO, Piet le Roux said, “This strike is not the first against racial discrimination in South Africa. It is simply the first strike where the employees being discriminated against are white. Once again workers in South Africa are taking a stand against being divided by a government based on their race. The reality is that the South African government continues to drive legislation that require firms to discriminate against their employees on the basis of race. Such policies drive a wedge between employees of various groups, and between employees and corporate management. This is counterproductive and actually undermines the moral fabric of the country as a non-racial, constitutional democracy.”
Strikes should always be mechanisms of last resort, Le Roux added, “In South Africa we have grown used to strikes of the worst kind, where the sole purpose is to try and bargain for higher wages. While there is nothing wrong with seeking higher wages, strikes are a particularly bad mechanism for achieving that. Almost always employees end up losing more through the strike than they eventually gain. In the process, the entire economy suffers.”
Sakeliga, however, is sympathetic of Solidarity’s strike as it has a bearing on matters of principle, Le Roux said. “Strikes only become a reasonable option when important moral principles are at stake. Otherwise strikes are counterproductive. But when all other options have failed and a company persists with a morally indefensible course of action, such as Sasol does in this case, it becomes understandable when workers exercise the option of a strike. As always with industrial action, the employees on strike at Sasol are likely to lose income, which just makes their actions all the more commendable. Government’s increasingly race-based policies, indiscriminately applied in many companies in South Africa, must be countered. Such opposition is fundamentally in the interests of everyone in the county.”