Numsa secretary general Irvin Jim address union members at the end of the nine-days underground strike at Lanxess mine in Rustenburg. Picture: African News Agency/ANA Reporter

Rustenburg - Jubilant mineworkers sang and raised their fists as they emerged from underground, ending an eight-day strike at Lanxess mine outside Rustenburg after the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) reported back to them the outcomes of a meeting with mine management.

The mineworkers were addressed by Numsa secretary general Irvin Jim, who was accompanied by SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi.  

In terms of the agreement, workers who had been on an underground strike would not be charged but would be issued with a warning valid for six months, the case of the 56 dismissed workers would be referred to external pre-dismissal arbitration for review and Numsa was granted recognition in the mines.

Numsa members emerged from underground after staging eight days underground sit-in at Lanxess mine outside Rustenburg. Video: Molaole Montsho/ANA

This means that Numsa will have organisational rights at the mine and can elect shop stewards in different units. 

The workers will be granted a day off to rest following the sit-in underground and on their return to work they will go for medical check-ups. 

Numsa members staged an underground sit-in on 19 June, demanding that the mine recognise 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 harrassment. 

Thirteen people were taken to hospital for medical attention while at least 25 received medical attention at the sickbay underground. 

Lanxess said it welcomed the agreement and was relieved that the conflict could be resolved successfully. 

"During the entire strike it was the company’s priority to bring all workers underground to the surface safely. The strike activities started on the morning of 19 June, when 290 Numsa  members embarked on an underground sit-in strike during their day shift,"  the company said in statement.

African News Agency (ANA)