Women block gates at Lanxess Chrome Mine in Rustenburg. NUMSA on Friday praised its members who ended a nine-day strike at Lanxess Chrome Mine. Picture: ANA/Stringer

JOHANNESBURG  - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Friday praised its members who ended a nine-day strike at Lanxess Chrome Mine, saying they had risked their lives to take a stand against sexual harassment.

About 290 Numsa members week started an underground sit-in at the mine in Rustenburg on June 19, demanding the suspension of an official accused of sexual harassment, the reinstatement of 56 dismissed workers and recognition of their union.

In terms of an agreement reached with mine management, the workers will not the fired but will be issued with a warning valid for six months, while the case of their 56 colleagues will be referred to external arbitration for review.

The alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment will be placed on special leave pending finalisation of an investigation. The company will also conduct a probe into allegations that three managers failed to properly deal with the matter.

Numsa has also been granted recognition at the mine.

"This is a victory for Numsa and for our members," the union said.

"They made huge sacrifices to expose a cruel management and they emerged victorious. They were militant and yet, they remained disciplined throughout their ordeal. They are heroes of the struggle and we salute them."

- African News Agency (ANA)