Numsa strike against sexual harassment is a 'powerful moment in labour history'

Emdon, Erica
Date Written:  2019-07-28
Publisher:  Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Year Published:  2019
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23786

A union of metal workers in South Africa staged a strike underground in harsh conditions to support a coworker whose sexual harassment complaint had been dismissed by management.



From June 19 to 27 [2019], an underground strike was staged at the Lanxess chrome mine near Rustenburg in North West, during which workers demanded that management immediately suspend and discipline an alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment. It took nine days for an agreement to be reached and for union members to return to work....

The workers, both men and women, were demanding that a longstanding sexual harassment matter be dealt with by the mine management.

The matter had been reported in August 2018, but had not been resolved by June this year. The complainant, an underground mine worker, was subjected to sexual harassment by a manager, a mine captain with whom she worked.

The woman lodged a grievance, but management, through an HR manager and two other senior employees, put pressure on her to withdraw the case. It appeared to complainant and the union that the HR manager and his two colleagues were colluding with the alleged perpetrator....

The strike that ensued as a result of the company’s stance was brutal and violent.
Insert T_CxShareButtonsHorizontal.html here