Workers lose out on empowerment deal

An empowerment deal by electronics company Reunert that will see R465 million in shares allocated to four individuals, has been labelled "uncontrollable greed and gluttony" by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

An empowerment deal by electronics company Reunert that will see R465 million in shares allocated to four individuals, has been labelled "uncontrollable greed and gluttony" by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

The union is also threatening protest action by its members at the company and its subsidiary CBI.

According to media reports, Reunert has transferred 2,8percent of its shares to four business women - Cheryl Carolus, Wendy Lucas-Bull, Dolly Mokgatle and Thandi Orleyn, who are all shareholders of the empowerment investment company Peotona.

Though the four must still pay for the shares over 11 years using Reunert dividends, Carolus' shares will be worth R135million at current value, and Mokgatle and Orleyn each stand to receive shares now worth R130million. Lucas-Bull stands to get shares now worth R70million.

Numsa said yesterday that it was strongly opposed to big businesses' attitude towards developing black economic empowerment policies without interacting formally with labour.

"We want to see disempowered workers and members getting a fair share in this particular transaction rather than distributing [the shares] to the filthy rich four businesswomen," the union said.

The share deal was a worrying development because the workers at Reunert stood to gain nothing in the "gratuitous" transfer of shares to a selected few. - Sapa

X