Former Lanxess Chrome mineworkers in Rustenburg, North West, are demanding payment of their UIF money. They were dismissed last year after embarking on an unprotected strike demanding permanent employment of contract workers, and an end to corruption, amongst others.
One of the dismissed employees, Mpendulo Songindaba, says some contract workers are yet to be paid what’s due to them.
“The most painful thing was that we had contract workers who were not paid. So we decided to stand in solidarity with them so that they should be absorbed and made permanent. We were also supposed to get dividends from our shares.”
Workers say losing their jobs has been a bitter pill to swallow. “I am both a father and a mother at home. I have to support my children. But they have stopped our UIF payments. We were paid twice while others were never paid,” one worker laments.
Another says, “As a community, we want the mine to open and for people to get their jobs back so that we can provide our children with food and clothes.”
“We have children and many responsibilities. When we first came here, we had reasons for being here,” adds one former mineworker.
Lanxess says proper procedures were followed and workers were dismissed after being found guilty during disciplinary proceedings. Management is also refuting claims that they are not prioritising retrenched workers for employment by the company they are selling the mine to.
The mine is currently under care and maintenance and in the process of being sold to Clover Alloys.
The company says the retrenchment agreement allows for the re-employment of retrenched employees, should the situation change.
Furthermore, Lanxess maintains that dismissed employees were given their UIF documentation and the responsibility lies with them to obtain payment from the UIF.
Expelled workers march to Lanxess mine to demand payment: