Numsa boss Irvin Jim told reporters outside Lanxess mine in Rustenburg that the underground strike could end on Thursday. Picture: ANA/Stringer

Rustenburg - The eight-day-long underground strike at Lanxess chrome mine in Rustenburg could end on Thursday, National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) secretary general Irvin Jim said.

"We are here to recommend that we should end this sit-in today [Thurdays]. And of course, I cannot put a gun to workers. We would have to present to them an agreement, we would have to present to them our logic why we think we should take two steps and settled and that we have made progress," Jim said.

"From where we stand as the union we think we are in a position to recommend that workers underground should come out. I cannot take out that decision, workers underground and our members here must support that.

Numsa members staged a sit-in at Lanxess mine on June 19, demanding that the mine recognised Numsa as the dominant union, reinstate over 50 workers dismissed for participating in a strike last year and suspend a mine captain accused of sexual harassment.

"We have been negotiating and we cannot have these workers life being at risk because of a mine bosses who basically do not care. If it was for us, we would have [a] long time ago [resolved], these issues are straight forward," Jim said.

"As you know they have fired people for participating in a community march. They dismissed them on what basis?"

Sources close to the union said the offer being taken to workers was that the mine has accepted that head counts of union members should be conducted next week, the dismissal of the over 50 workers would be turned into suspensions and dealt with at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Another mineworker was reportedly taken to hospital for medical attention on Wednesday night after he complained of chest pains and headache, this brings the number of people who have been taken out underground for medical attention to 13 since the strike started.

The labour court in Johannesburg has declared the strike unprotected.

African News Agency (ANA)