Numsa members protesting outside Lanxess Chrome Mine. About 280 of their colleagues have staged an underground strike at the mine's Rustenburg operations. Picture: African News Agency (ANA).

Rustenburg - The ongoing underground strike by members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) at Lanxess Chrome Mine (LCM) in Rustenburg was illegal, the mine said on Monday.

"The strike has been declared illegal by a Johannesburg court but is ongoing. The main focus of LCM is currently on resolving the situation quickly and safely without any violence and bringing all employees back to surface, well and safe. Meanwhile, supply of potable water and fresh air underground is maintained," said spokeswoman Nomzamo Khanyile.

About 280 Numsa members started an underground sit-in on June 19, demanding recognition of their union, the reinstatement of dismissed workers  and the suspension of an official accused of sexual harassment.

"The LCM management received a list of demands that addresses various labour-related matters, including a case of sexual harassment. The case dates back to October 2018 and is already being thoroughly investigated by an independent investigator," said Khanyile.

Numsa's Hlanganani region secretary, Jerry Morulane, said the union met with the mine on Sunday in an attempt to resolve the strike. 

"A resolution was taken that the sexual harassment perpetrator be suspended immediately. Investigations thereafter will determine which action to be taken," he said.

Morulane said the remaining issue was for management to review the decision of the 50 employees dismissed for being involved in a strike in 2018.

Two of the 280 workers involved in the underground sit-in have reportedly come to surface for medical attention.

African News Agency (ANA)