Government & Municipal News
20 March 2020
  • Labour Court order has declared the strike action illegal. 
  • High Court orders NUMSA to comply with Labour Court interdict. 
  • A total of 119 strikers have left the mine since the strike on 13 February and there are still some strikers underground. 
  • LANXESS institutes disciplinary action against the unlawful strikers. 
  • Prepared food has been allowed underground following violence and forceful entry over the weekend. 

Rustenburg - The unprotected strik e of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) at the LANXESS mine in Rustenburg continues despite the High Court ordering NUMSA on 10th March to comply with the Labour Court interdict. 

The interdict gave NUMSA until 6pm on Friday 13th March to convince their members to comply with the court order. 

According to the High Court order, two members of NUMSA were allowed to engage the unlawful underground occupiers and read the Labour Court order to all strikers with a view to convince them to vacate the mine. 

LANXESS regrets the fact that NUMSA did not follow the High Court order. It is disappointing that they could not convince their members to abide by the court order and vacate the mine premises. 

As a result, LANXESS has no option but to embark on a disciplinary process against its employees that are on strike. NUMSA has been informed about the disciplinary action. 

LANXESS condemns the violent events of the weekend, when a group of people forcibly gained access to the mine to supply the underground strikers with homemade food. In order to avoid further violence, LANXESS has agreed that NUMSA will provide the strikers with ready-made food from an external caterer. 

LANXESS stresses very explicitly that the responsibility continues to rest with NUMSA to bring this matter to an end. LANXESS considers the illegal strike to be irresponsible, as a small minority of illegal strikers is preventing around 95% of the workforce from working and is putting some 1400 jobs and the future of the mine at risk. LANXESS has been in constant communication with the Department of Mineral Resources on this matter and we will continue to keep them informed about the developments of the illegal strike. 

It was only on Sunday, February 16, that the NUMSA leadership brought the strikers’ demands to the attention of the mine management. 

Subsequent to the meeting with the NUMSA leadership, and considering that the strike is unprotected, the Labour Court of South Africa ruled on the matter and declared the strike illegal. 

LANXESS discovered on Tuesday, February 18 that an uncertain number of strikers illegally accessed the underground workings, after it was closed on Thursday, February 13 and are currently still underground. While this is the case, anyone who is in the underground section of the mine can access clean water, food, medical assistance and sanitary facilities as per our operational requirements. 

Unprotected strikes have an impact on the production of the mine as well as the wellbeing of workers who do not participate in this. This has been seen during the illegal underground strike that took place last year at the mine, when families were adversely affected. 

Lanxess press release dated 16 March 2020

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