Lanxess, Numsa in deadlock as underground mining strike continues

Nearly 300 members of the National Union of Mineworkers of SA are still underground as they continue a sit-in strike at Lanxess Chrome mine in Rustenburg. 

According to Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, 12 workers have been hospitalised or taken to receive medical attention due to losing consciousness underground since the start of the strike last Wednesday.

The strike has not been sanctioned by the union, Hlubi-Majola said.

Some 280 workers started a sit-in at the mine on June 19, over alleged inaction regarding the sexual harassment of a worker, as well as the dismissal of 56 employees they want reinstated.

An interdict issued by the Johannesburg Labour Court on June 22 banned the strike, but agreement between workers and Lanxess has not been reached.

Numsa claims management at Lanxess refused to allow food to be taken down to members underground after the union secured an agreement with the Department of Mineral Resources whereby workers would be allowed to get food.

Lanxess, for its part, says it has offered to provide food and medical aid at the surface. It also claims that strikers have been prevented from leaving the mine.

''With their irresponsible actions, Numsa has drastically worsened the situation of the illegal strikers underground," Lanxess said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement added: ''Lanxess urges Numsa and the strike leaders to comply with the interdict issued by the Labour Court of Johannesburg on June 22, 2019 and stop the illegal strike immediately.''

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