RUSTENBURG, February 14 (ANA) - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa on Friday dismissed reports that it had held a rival union's members hostage at the Lanxess chrome mine in Rustenburg.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday about 100 of its members had been held underground at the mine by Numsa members.
"This is false and completely misleading because it did not happen," Numsa regional secretary Jerry Morulane said in response.
NUM branch chairperson at Lanxess, Unforget Dube, said union members had been detained after Numsa had embarked on an unprotected strike on Thursday morning. Dube said NUM offices at the operation had been taken over by force, with shop stewards manhandled in full view of company security personnel.
Morulane denied NUM shop stewards had been roughed up.
"The truth is that this is a dispute between workers and the employer. Contract workers at Lanxess locked the mine captain in his office. They were angry because he allegedly did not sign off an invoice, which resulted in them not getting paid," he said.
"Workers have been demanding that management resolve this issue urgently, but they wanted Lanxess head office management, which is based in Johannesburg, to resolve it because they do not trust the local management."
He said the mine captain had eventually beenreleased.
A worker at the company who did not want to be identified told African News Agency no one had been taken hostage, but confirmed NUM offices had been forcefully closed in response to what he called a misleading statement the union had issued about the situation.
Last June, Numsa members staged a nine-day underground sit-in at the mine, pushing for the union to be recognised as the dominant labour organisation.
- African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa