Solidarity welcomes Ramaphosa and Patel's comments on Esops

Movement says these should benefit all employees and not exclude white employees

Statements on employee share ownership programmes by Ramaphosa and Patel welcomed

24 April 2024

Employee Share Ownership Plans (Esops) should benefit all employees and there are no grounds to exclude white employees from them.

This call for the inclusion of all employees in employee share ownership programmes (Esops) was made today by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa and Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel. These calls were made at the Worker Share Ownership Conference held at the Sandton Conference Centre.

Pres. Ramaphosa did though emphasise his view that black employees and females are still victims of workplace inequality, but at the same time he used the ANC’s Freedom Charter as reference to state that Esops must promote inclusivity so that all employees, as is the case in the mining sector, could be empowered by Esops. 

Minister Patel, in turn, concurred with the President and said that Esops should serve a two-fold purpose: first to empower black employees and second to promote cohesion between workers and that white employees must therefore be included in Esops. 

“Solidarity welcomes these statements which serve as confirmation that the 2018 dispute between Sasol and Solidarity could indeed have been avoided,” Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said.

“This would have been the case had Sasol not excluded white employees from its Sasol Khanyisa Esop at the time – something which now appears to be contrary to the views expressed by Ramaphosa and Patel.

“For this reason, Solidarity praises a company like Coca-Cola that describes its Esop as a ‘colourblind’ programme.” 

Solidarity is also encouraged by the many calls made at the conference requesting that the funding models for Esops be revisited so that esop costs are not recovered from employees’ dividends, and that tax relief for participating employers be investigated.

Du Plessis says employers are widely requested to implement Esops, where it is practically possible, at their workplaces in accordance with the Code of Good Practice for Esops that will hopefully be released soon. 

Issued by Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity General Secretary, 24 April 2024