Workers from South Africa’s mainly white Solidarity union started a “go-slow” protest at petrochemicals firm Sasol over a share scheme offered exclusively to black staff, and will launch a full strike on Thursday.
The Solidarity union also said it will file a complaint to U.S. regulators over Sasol’s “discriminative” black share scheme.
The company is a leader in technology that converts coal and gas to fuel and also operates in the U. S.
“We have a staggered industrial action. Today, we have a go-slow,” Dirk Hermann, Solidarity’s chief executive said.
“Our 6,300 members will carry out their duties, but in a slow manner. We plan to ramp up to a full-blown strike on Thursday.”
Under black economic empowerment rules, South African companies are required to meet quotas on black ownership, employment and procurement as part of a drive to reverse decades of exclusion under apartheid.
Sasol said in 2017 it would raise its black ownership levels in Sasol South Africa to at least 25 per cent in a 21 billion rand (1.5 billion dollars) deal.
The company, which has around 26,000 employees at its local operations, said it received notification from the trade union Solidarity of its intent to strike on Monday and was open engagement with the union.
“We have activated contingency measures to minimise potential disruption to our operations,” Sasol said in an emailed response.