The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) believe Laxness is not negotiating in good faith and has called for the government to get involved and help end the strike.
Numsa calls for aid
Following around a week of negotiations, Numsa believes there is no end in sight and wants governments involvement to ensure a peaceful conclusion to the protest.
“It seems to us that Lanxess management want our members to be brought up in body bags. They do not want an amicable solution to this strike,” the union posted on its Twitter page.
“Our members ate only on Monday. Since the sit-in began on Wednesday they have been without food. On Friday Lanxess cut off the electricity underground which deprived them of water and ventilation. It was only because of intervention from the union that power was restored.
“We also call on the Mineral Resources Department to assist us in the negotiations to avert the strike so that our members can be brought back to the surface safely.”
Lanxess mine protest story so far
It all began seven days prior when around 200 Numsa members at the Lanxess chrome mine in Rustenburg staged a protest against a mine captain by going underground and refusing to return until their demands were met.
At the time, their grievance was that the mine captain had sexually and verbally assaulted a female employee.
According to the protesters, the incident had been reported and ignored by management of the mine and they wanted the issue investigated and resolved.
“The victim reported the incident in August last year. She was so traumatised that she even went to a psychiatric hospital for a few months because of her experience. The alleged perpetrator has never been suspended, and no disciplinary action has been taken against him,” Numsa spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said at the time.
They have since been joined by around 100 more employees and their demands have expanded to include the reinstatement of workers dismissed in 2018 for participating in a legal strike and the introduction of an underground allowance.
They have continued to protest despite reports of worsening conditions, a lack of food and water, and insufficient ablution facilities.