Sasol has denied claims that its plant in Sasolburg was operating illegally. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – South African trade union Solidarity accused Sasol of compromising the safety of its workers and running its steam plant in Sasolburg illegally.

This comes after union members in Sasolburg joined striking workers’ in Mpumalanga in response to Sasol's employee share ownership plan that excludes white workers. The strike is now in its third week. 

According to a statement, Solidarity claims that the plant should have been shut down on Saturday morning but it continued with operations.

The union then states that the staff who worked did not have the necessary clearances and certifications to work on the plant. 

"The decision to keep the plant running with the services of employees who are not duly qualified to do so, is reckless," said the union in a statement. 

However, Sasol has since denied claims that its plant in Sasolburg was operating illegally.

According to Sasol, there was no agreement that conditions at its plant were unsafe and that there was no indication that safety has been compromised.

The company said it had a contingency plan after its staffs embarked on a strike.

The company added that it held views that all its employees had the right of recourse on any concerns or problems that may arise with the company and it will not do anything to intimidate them.

“Although there were employees who did not arrive yesterday morning at the shift change at our Sasolburg Operations, we activated contingency plans to minimise potential interruption to those particular activities,” said Sasol spokesperson Alex Anderson.

Solidarity has directed a letter to the Department of Labour to bring Sasol’s course of action to the department’s attention and to express its concern about management’s decision that could compromise the safety of employees.

In an aim to end the deadlock between the two parties, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) will meet with them on Wednesday the 19th of September.