IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), says Lanxess, which is listed on leading sustainability indices, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good, is intimidating and harassing its members. For example, the workers are being threatened with dismissals and retrenchments for joining the union.
Lanxess’s specialty chemicals and plastics global value chain employs over 19,000 workers in 25 countries. The chrome mine, which is in Rustenburg, North West Province, supplies organic leather chemicals and chrome tanning salts to the company’s leather operations in China, Germany, Italy, and South Africa. The company is also not cooperating with a request by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration to finalize the numbers of workers belonging to the union. NUMSA says it will fight against the deplorable behaviour that is meant to continue the abuse and exploitation of workers.
Furthermore, Lanxess mine is failing to respect health and safety standards by not reporting incidents and accidents. To force the company to comply with the law, NUMSA has written to the Department of Mineral Resources to act against the mine.
The Mokhukhwini (shack dwellers) community around the mine has joined the workers’ protest and is demanding that the mine fulfills its promises to build houses. Instead of listening to the workers and the community demands, Lanxess mine management resorted to bullying tactics by closing electricity and water supplies to the community as “punishment for joining the protest”.
Says Jerry Morulane, Hlanganani regional secretary for NUMSA: “We condemn the backward management at Lanxess and will continue to expose the abuse of workers. Their threats will not stop us from demanding our rights.”
Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa concurs with NUMSA: “Workers’ rights are protected by the Labour Relations Act and other laws. It is shameful that Lanxess mine chooses to ignore workers’ rights and continues to bash unions. We commend NUMSA for sending a clear message to the mine management that this unacceptable bullying will be resisted.”