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NUM Press Statement, 19 September 2016
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is shocked and disappointed to learn of an alleged sexual harassment incident involving a Manager at Assmang’s (Blackrock Operation in the Northern Cape), the victim an NUM member is being assisted by the union to get justice and thus ensuring the alleged perpetrator does not continue to interact with other employees in the operation. What angers the union and its members at Black Rock, is the vile and disgusting treatment the employee received from the company, whose management is hell-bent on defending one of their own and thus violating several rights of the victim. This includes being subjected to an intrusive polygraph test, suspended and charged by the company for reporting the sexual harassment by the superior.
The NUM has reported this matter to Assmang Senior Management, whom the NUM Regional Leadership met recently to highlight the levels of secondary victimisation muted by the company management at the operation, unfortunately, matters affecting women and especially NUM members seem not to be high on their agenda. The victim remains suspended, while the alleged perpetrator remains at work. The NUM is seeking urgent legal counsel on this matter, as the union’s 1987 strike was not the triple victimisation of women in the workplace, especially in a so-called “Black Owned or Empowered Company”. Our first objective is to ensure all charges against our member are withdrawn; secondly, the alleged perpetrator is put on precautionary leave. The third is for the company to investigate the role played by the management in covering up the incident and victimising the member by subjecting her to a polygraph test and subjecting her to a disciplinary process (especially the Senior General and Human Resource Managers).
What is also ironic is the very same manager in question is one of three that the NUM has lodged a grievance against their appointment, as the company failed to follow its own recruitment policies in their appointment. The union will leave no stone unturned in the fight against women abused and thus ensuring all workplace rejoice and promotes the rights of employees.
There is a need of a high level of awareness of policies to empower and protect women in the mining industry, including policies on sexual harassment. A policy on the protection of victims of sexual harassment and other forms of gender discrimination should be strengthened in the mining industry and publicised among women employees so that when these cases arise, women can speak out without fear.
For more information please contact:
Lucas Phiri: NUM Kimberley Regional Coordinator: 082 883 7290
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257